Confession time: I’ve been a bit weary of Ezekiel these past few days. It just made me sad to read so much gloom and doom and to see how the nations made the Lord angry by their idolatry. It made me wish the Israelites had turned from their evil ways and gone back to the Lord so they could have been spared from the Babylonians…but, history is history.
Today, though, Ezekiel had these hopeful words to say to God’s people — not because they deserved His mercy, but for the sake of His holy name (do you think His name is important to him?):
3 I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord. 24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.[b] 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
I just love that image of the Lord removing a hard, stony heart and replacing it with a tender, responsive heart. That is the kind of heart I desire! It’s not always tender, and it isn’t always receptive. “Stubborn” is one of the kinder words that could be used to describe me in many ways! What a great reminder to me to pray for the Holy Spirit to renew my mind — and my heart. Give me a heart transplant. Take away the stones, Lord. Let me be filled with fertile soil for Your plans for me!