In the midst of troubles, sufferings and calamities; our faithful and Almighty God has not forgotten His people. God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. May we be encouraged to hold on to our faith and trust in the Lord, while we continue our walk with Him in obedience, and in obedience and perseverance under all circumstances. Our strength comes from God, and as we draw near to Him, He will always be there for us. There is hope of His mercy, which brings life, as we call upon the name of the Lord and choose to turn to Him with honesty.
This is the Word which the Lord spoke to me in my prayer through Ezekiel 36:1-15, in which He promises blessings and favour on Israel, His covenant people.
In Ezekiel 36:1-4, the Lord spoke to the prophet Ezekiel saying:
“Son of man, speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them to listen to the word of the LORD! Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: The enemy said bad things against you. They said, Hurray! Now the ancient mountains will be ours! So speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: The enemy destroyed your cities and attacked you from every direction. They did this so that you would belong to the other nations. Then people talked and whispered about you. So, mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! This is what the Lord GOD says to the mountains, hills, streams, valleys, empty ruins, and abandoned cities that have been looted and laughed at by the other nations around them. The Lord GOD says: I swear, I will let my strong feelings speak for me! I will let Edom and the other nations feel my anger. They took my land for themselves. They really had a good time when they showed how much they hated this land. They took the land for themselves, just so they could destroy it.”
God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the inhabitants of Israel (the ancient mountains here refer to the Promised Land), to declare to her the Word of the Lord. Verses 2-4 described the condition of Israel, who had endured slanders and attacks against her by her enemies (the Chaldeans); and the conspiracy of the nations (especially the Edomites) who were out to destroy Israel and take possession of her land. The Lord described the desolations, calamities and sufferings of Israel, the results of the destruction brought about by the king of Babylon; and how Israel was mocked by her neighbouring nations, causing many to flee from their land. God told Ezekiel to deliver His Word to Israel, showing her, that she is not forgotten; but that the Lord is fully aware of her sufferings. In His mercy and compassion toward Israel, His covenant people, God vowed to punish Edom and the other nations in His coming wrath, for the sufferings they had brought to the Israelites.
The Lord continued to command Ezekiel to prophesy in vv7-12:
“So say these things about the land of Israel. Speak to the mountains and to the hills, to the streams, and to the valleys. Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: I will let my strong feelings and anger speak for me, because you had to suffer the insults from those nations. So this is what the Lord GOD says: I am the one making this promise! I swear that the nations around you will have to suffer for those insults. But mountains of Israel, you will grow new trees and produce fruit for my people Israel. My people will soon come back. I am with you, and I will help you. People will till your soil and plant seeds in you. There will be many people living on you. The whole family of Israel–all of them–will live there. The cities will have people living in them. The destroyed places will be rebuilt. I will give you many people and animals, and they will grow and have many children. I will bring people to live on you as in the past. I will make it better for you than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Yes, I will lead many people–my people, Israel–to your land. You will be their property, and you will not take away their children again.”
Ezekiel continued to prophesy to Israel, which was by then desolate: to the mountains, the hills, the streams and the valleys; the promise of a God who will bring judgement upon all the nations who had caused Israel’s suffering and abuse; to those who had contempt and reproach toward God’s own people. As the curse of God reaches the nations for the sake of His people, so does the blessing of God. God declared his mercies and goodness to Israel, promising He will intervene to preserve the Promised Land and His people, as He destroys her enemies. Israel’s enemies will bear the consequences of their own contempt.
God has a plan for Israel: first, a spiritual renewal of hearts and a revival; and then secondly, her transformation and restoration into her original inheritance. The time will come when God will lead His chosen people out of Babylonian captivity, returning them to settle in their own land. The Lord further declared that He will multiply earthly blessings to His people; cities will be inhabited; wastelands rebuilt and His church will flourish – these are works in which the glory of God is to be made manifest and which shall be evident for all to see.
Ezekiel 36:13-15 reads:
“This is what the Lord GOD says, “Land of Israel, people say bad things to you. They say you destroyed your people. They say you took the children away from your people. But you will not destroy people anymore or take away their children again. This is what the Lord GOD said. I will not let those other nations insult you anymore. You will not be hurt by them anymore. You will not take the children away from your people again. This is what the Lord GOD said.”
Here, the Lord says He will bestow His blessing upon Israel and take away the reproach of His people. The nation will be reformed, restored and flourish in peace, abundance, and power; and will bear no more the shame of the past.
When God returns in mercy to a people who return to him in spirit and in truth, all their grievances will be soon redressed and their honour retrieved.
Let us remain hopeful in our merciful God who delivers those who call on Him for Psalm 50:15 says: “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you will honour me.”
Amen and Amen!