This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph. You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your ancestors, this land will become your inheritance. Ezekiel 47:13-14 (NIV)
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of one of the longest books in the Bible. It was a struggle, with ups and downs along the way, but you made it! Hopefully the positive outweighed the negative, and you came away with the same feelings and thoughts the author hoped to invoke from his readers. Ezekiel, as was mentioned previously, was written to the Jews while they were in exile. They had rebelled against God repeatedly and in increasingly worse ways. God warned the people that they would be exiled if they didn’t straighten up…and they didn’t straighten up. So God, through the prophet Ezekiel, set out to inform the people once again, that their wicked ways deserved punishment and this exiled life they were living was a fulfillment of his previous proclamations. But Yahweh didn’t want to kick Israel while they were down, He wanted to show them that He still held to His covenantal promises and would redeem His people, despite their rejection of His covenantal love.
So, in the last three chapters of Ezekiel we get another reminder that, though God has been angry with His people for their unfaithfulness, He will remain faithful and fulfill what He promised to the patriarchs and their descendants. The God who took the Israelites out of the Promised Land will establish the twelve tribes there. Not only will they receive their inheritance of land, but they will have a city with a river of life flowing through the land, with the name: Yahweh is There. Ezekiel ends with a push for the reader to have hope. Hope in a faithful God who always fulfills His promises.
We should also come away from reading Ezekiel with hope on our minds and joy in our hearts. For don’t we have a much greater reason to hope than the Jews in exile? God has made a new covenant through the blood of His own son, which offers a better deal to us. We don’t have to sacrifice the blood of animals to cover our sins–Jesus has already done that. And we don’t have to wait for God to redeem the earth or be a priest in the temple to feel His presence–God dwells in us through His Spirit. But God does expect us to be His representatives here and now and live lives that reflect His holiness and the character of His son. We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). We can do this knowing that with every challenge we face, every difficulty we overcome, every time our faith gets us through, we are that much closer to the return of Jesus and the establishment of God’s perfect kingdom. This has been promised through prophecy and Yahweh is a promise keeper. It is a reason for joy and a reason for hope.
– Joel Fletcher
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Ezekiel 46-48
Tomorrow Joel will lead us through the book of – Joel – as we continue on our