Today you should read: Ezekiel 11
Only God can provide a true heart-change…
Ezekiel is stepping into a new vision. The Spirit has lifted him up and he sees what the Lord wants him to see. Then he hears what the Lord wants him to hear. And he hears what the Lord wants him to say to His people.
The Lord wants to convey a message, and he will use his mouthpiece, Ezekiel, to speak it. The message is two-fold. It is a message of judgment and a message of hope. In fact, God’s message of discipline and judgment, besides final judgment, is always paired with hope. God’s ultimate purpose and desire is for redemption, for restoration.
God is going to bring discipline on His people, because in fact they have actually brought it upon themselves. Like in the book of Lamentations, this people have brought destruction upon themselves because of their sin.
During this pronouncement of judgment, Ezekiel cries out, in verse 13, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?” And then, beginning in verse 14 God answers. His plan isn’t to leave His people in their misery. His plan is to restore them. His plan is to give them a new heart.
When God responds to Ezekiel, He doesn’t just say that that he’s going give His people their land back. He doesn’t just say that He’s going to remove all the detestable things from them. But starting in verse 19 He says some far more incredible and promising things:
1. He is going to give them one heart
2. He will put a new spirit in them
3. He will remove their heart of stone from their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh
4. Then they will be ABLE to walk in His statutes and rules, and obey them
5. He will make them His people and He will be their God
God’s plan wasn’t to put His people in the dirt, kick them while they were down, and leave them to pick themselves up. His plan was to reveal their lack of hope by stripping their heart of any contentment apart from Him. Then, He Himself would provide everything they need and He would restore their dependency on Him. But this is only possible through Him giving them a new heart.
And this is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Without a new heart, which comes from being born-again, from faith in Jesus, from dying to self and living for Christ, we are unable to be unified with one heart as a people, we will still have a heart of stone towards God, we will not have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we will be unable to walk in His statutes and rules, we will be unable to obey Him, and we wont be His people, and He wont be our God. We, ourselves, and the people in our lives, desperately need the new heart that comes from a relationship with Jesus. And only God is able to give us this new heart.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Can you remember the time when God removed your heart of stone and gave you a heart of flesh? Who is in your life that needs a new heart? Who can you pray for that you know only God can change their heart? Who can you share with and allow the Gospel to do its heart changing work as they hear the good news? God still has more hearts to change, and He wants to use you to accomplish this work.
Posted by: Sam Cirrincione