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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel

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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 36: Crisis & Consequence, Hope & Restoration

 

[Preliminary Comment : The land has been taken. Whether the ‘mountains' refer to Jerusalem [sometimes referred to as on seven hills situated at an altitude of over 2000 feet] or generally the various well-known mountains of Israel in both the north, central and southern areas, is not clear. Nevertheless, the crisis for the Land is that it has been taken by Nebuchadnezzar. Note the number of times the word ‘because' is used denoting consequences or responses of the Lord to what others have been saying and doing – He will deal with their enemies! In conclusion, the Lord declares He will be purging and cleansing Israel through exile so when He eventually brings them back to their land, they will be a holy people. It is a powerful chapter.]

 

 

v.1,2 The enemy boasts he has taken the mountains [see above] of the land

  

v.1 ‘Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, “Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord.

v.2  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: the enemy said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession.'”

 

[Notes: The following prophecy has a number of ‘therefore' declarations in it, consequences or responses of the Lord because of the enemy's boasting.]

 

 

v.3-6 The Lord speaks to the mountains and the whole land, He has spoken on their behalf

  

v.3  Therefore prophesy and say, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: because they ravaged and crushed you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people's malicious talk and slander,

v.4  therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord: this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you –

v.5  this is what the Sovereign Lord says: in my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pasture-land.”

v.6  Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: “ This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations.

 

[Notes: Note yet again the fivefold emphasis in this section that this is God speaking. The land may have been subjugated and ruined and ridiculed by the enemy but He now speaks against all their enemies.]

 

 

v.7-12 Yes, I will plunder them as they have plundered you – and then bless you!

 

v.7   Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn.

v.‘“But you, mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.

v.9  I am concerned for you and will look on you with favour; you will be ploughed and sown,

v.10  and I will cause many people to live on you – yes, all of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.

v.11  I will increase the number of people and animals living on you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

v.12  I will cause people, my people Israel, to live on you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.

 

[Notes: These nations will suffer at the Lord's hand for their actions and attitudes against Israel and then the Lord will bless His land and the people will return [implied], towns will be rebuilt and they will flourish.]

 

 

v.13-15 In their idolatry [implied] they took lives, but no more as they will be restored

 

v.13  ‘“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: because some say to you, ‘You devour people and deprive your nation of its children,'

v.14   therefore you will no longer devour people or make your nation childless, declares the Sovereign Lord.

v.15  No longer will I make you hear the taunts of the nations, and no longer will you suffer the scorn of the peoples or cause your nation to fall, declares the Sovereign Lord.”'

 

[Notes: The fact was that through idolatry they opened themselves up in the past to disciplinary destruction by enemies but after the exile [implied] this will happen no more.]

 

  

v.16-21 Their past behaviour had brought cleansing judgment

  

v.16   Again the word of the Lord came to me:

v.17  ‘Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight.

v.18  So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols.

v.19  I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.

v.20  And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, “These are the Lord's people, and yet they had to leave his land.”

v.21  I had concern for my holy name, which the people of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.

 

[Notes: Continuing the same theme, their sins in the land had incurred the Lord's anger again and again and even when they were deported they took their idolatry with them, these people who were supposed to be holy and a light to other nations.]

 

  

v.22,23 So, for the sake of His name He will act against these enemy nations

 

v.22 Therefore say to the Israelites, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: it is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.

v.23  I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.

 

[Notes: Therefore this present cleansing-by-exile will be to change their hearts [implied] and when that happens, the rest of the world will see and understand.]

 

 

v.24-30 The Lord lists off ten things He will do to restore His people

 

v.24  ‘“For I will [i] take you out of the nations; I will [ii] gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.

v.25  I will [iii] sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will [iv] cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

v.26  I will [v] give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will [vi] remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

v.27  And I will [vii] put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

v.28  Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

v.29  I will [viii] save you from all your uncleanness. I will [ix] call for the corn and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.

v.30  I will [x] increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.

 

[Notes: The purpose of the exile is made very clear – to change the hearts of His people and transform them so that when they eventually return they really will be a holy people. See Ezra and Nehemiah for the changes in this people.]

 

  

v.31-36 A time will come when they look back to now with horror

  

v.31  Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.

v.32  I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!

v.33  ‘“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: on the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.

v.34  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.

v.35  They will say, ‘This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.'

v.36  Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”

 

[Notes: When the Lord has completed His work of transformation with His people in exile, when they return they will look on these days with shame, realising how terrible they had been. Read Daniel's prayers in Dan 9:3-19 and see his understanding of this.]

 

 

v.37,38 Again a concluding declaration of restoration

 

v.37  ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: once again I will yield to Israel's plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep,

v.38  as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.'

 

[Notes: The Lord concludes that He WILL bring this restoration He has been referring to.]

   

   

Continue to Chapter 37