Thoughts About What We’re Reading…
This week we begin our reading through the Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s name literally means “God strengthens”.
The arrangement of the book (the announcement of judgment in the beginning and the declaration of restoration at the end) suggests that Ezekiel’s message was ultimately one of hope and encouragement.
Borrowing from the HCSB Study Bible – we find six major theological statements made in the book on behalf of the Nation of Israel:
(1) The Lord will re-gather His scattered people.
(2) The Lord will bring the nation back to their land and will cleanse them from defilement.
(3) The Lord will give His people a new heart and a new spirit so they might walk in His ways.
(4) The Lord will restore the Davidic dynasty.
(5) The Lord will bless Israel with unprecedented prosperity and security in their land.
(6) The Lord will establish His permanent residence in the midst of Israel.
All the covenants made with Israel will be fulfilled when the nation is restored to the promised land and the messianic kingdom is established.
Borrowing from the Gospel Transformation Bible notes on Ezekiel, we find that the whole structure of the book points to God’s grace toward His people in spite of their sin.
In the first 24 chapters, the book contains a succession of oracles that promise judgment against the people of Israel. Jerusalem will be placed under siege and destroyed, this will happen because of the peoples’ sin.
The exile has not happened by accident, and neither will the destruction of Jerusalem. All of it comes from the hand of God in response to the peoples’ rebellion against Him.
In chapters 24–33, the focus changes as God turns His attention to judging the nations around Israel. He is sovereign not only over His people but over all the nations of the world. None of them will be excused for their rebellion.
In chapter 33, the focus of the book changes again. With God’s judgment against Jerusalem carried out in full, and with judgment pronounced against Israel’s enemies, God now begins to promise His people that they will be restored.
Life will reign where there has been only death. God will pour out His Spirit on the people. God will once again dwell with His people.
One day, God will restore His people and a new ruler will sit on David’s throne. This king will not only reign for eternity but will also make atonement for His people’s sins and bring them back into God’s presence.
In all this, Ezekiel points powerfully both to the coming of Jesus Christ and to the grace of God in forgiving sinners.
Until next time… keep reading!
Excerpts for today’s blog were taken directly from the HCSB Study Bible and The Gospel Transformation Bible.