Ezekiel 11:1-25; Hebrews 6:11-20; Psalms 105:8-15; Proverbs 22:26-27
OT: ““Therefore say, ‘This is what the Lord God says: Though I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ “Therefore say, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ “When they arrive there, they will remove all its abhorrent acts and detestable practices from it. I will give them integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so that they will follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts pursue their desire for abhorrent acts and detestable practices, I will bring their conduct down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 11:16-21 CSB)
While Ezekiel was exiled in Babylon, the Lord appeared to him in a vision – and in the vision, He swept Ezekiel off to Jerusalem and allowed him to witness the depravity that was going on behind closed doors, which led to God’s judgement of Jerusalem and the departure of God’s glory from the temple. It was quite a sobering and somber experience. Yet, in the midst of the despair and hopelessness, God gave Ezekiel this promise.
Though God’s people had been taken into exile… though God’s glory had left the temple, and the temple would soon be destroyed, there would come a day when God would assemble all His people from the nations of the world and bring them back home. God would then give His people integrity of heart and fill them with a new spirit. He would remove their hardened heart of stone and give them a new and living heart of flesh. With that new heart and new spirit, they would be able to follow God’s statutes, keep God’s ordinances, practice His ways, and remove the depravity from the land. God declared it, therefore God would do it.
The initial fulfillment of God’s promise occurred when the exiles were allowed to return to the land and rebuild the temple and walls of Jerusalem. God’s promise of giving His people a new spirit and a new heart was initially fulfilled through the salvation and new birth that is experienced through faith in Christ. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise has not yet happened. One day, at the end of the age, Christ will return to completely defeat His enemies. Sin, death and the devil will be completely destroyed once and for all, and a new heaven and earth will be populated by the redeemed sons and daughters of God forever. The hope that God gave Ezekiel so many years ago is still the blessed hope of all who call on the name of the Lord and place their faith in Him.
Psalms: “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he ordained for a thousand generations — the covenant he made with Abraham, swore to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob as a decree and to Israel as a permanent covenant: “I will give the land of Canaan to you as your inherited portion.”” (Psalms 105:8-11 CSB)
God is faithful to His covenant forever. Whatever He says He will do, He will do. Fulfillment delayed is not fulfillment denied. The promise that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – though it tarried over the course of generations – was fulfilled. The promise that God made to Ezekiel was fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled. The new covenant that was sealed through the blood of Christ and offered to all who place their faith in Him is being fulfilled will ultimately be fulfilled at the end of the age. For those who place their hope on God and on His Christ, their hope is secure and will not be denied.
NT: “Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance… Because God wanted to show his unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:11-12, 17-20 CSB)
God’s purpose is unchangeable and the truth of His word is unchangeable. If God purposes in His heart to do something, and says that He is going to do something, it will be done. God’s purpose and all of His word is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who is our firm and secure anchor of Hope. As Christ was resurrected bodily to reign forever with God, we too have a promise of a bodily resurrection and a joint inheritance with Christ. He was our forerunner… our prototype. As He is, we will be in Him, at the end of days – provided we persevere through faith to the end. That is why it is imperative that we do not grow lazy in our waiting, but continue to press on to take hold of the upward call that is in Christ Jesus. Our hope is assured and is steadfastly anchored in Christ. We just need to be diligent to walk by grace through faith as we look to Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the steadfast and secure hope that I have in You. Regardless of what life may throw at me, You are unchanging, and I can seize the hope I have in You and hang on to it by faith. Help me to not grow weary of well-doing and lazy in the waiting, but to persevere by grace through faith to the end. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.