Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
This scripture was a promise to the Israelites in Judah around 600 BC. The northern Kingdom had already fallen, and many of them had been shipped off into exile in other places. The Southern Israelites in Judah did not see the destruction of the northern Kingdom as being caused by their unfaithfulness to the covenant but because God favored the southern kingdom. Instead of “straightening up and flying right,” they continued in their sin. They continued in their evil ways. Prophets, including Ezekiel, continued to warn them of their impending disaster if they did not repent.
Finally, the prophets switched from warning to comforting. All hope had been lost in one sense, but in another way, hope was just being born because God was creating another path, a new way of living apart from the law. God was creating another expression of the Covenant, and this New Covenant would be kept because God would cleanse them and put God’s spirit in their heart. They would be able to love and live correctly.
It would take another 600 years from the time Ezekiel spoke this prophecy, but God was faithful. In Jesus Christ, God offers us the choice of righteousness, a new heart, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As you go to worship today, think about the faithfulness of God, whose mercy begins new each day and whose love is everlasting.
Gracious God, for thousands of years, You have observed human unfaithfulness, and for thousands of years, You have remained faithful. Help us to live fully into the promise of the new covenant today. Amen.
Go with God.
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