Flesh and Spirit – Passage #2 lesson 2
MY WORDS ON THE WINGS OF A DOVE
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:18-20 (in Context) Ezekiel 11 (Whole Chapter)
In our first lesson God appointed Ezekiel as his watchman to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and asked him to be faithful in delivering the messages he had for the “obstinate scorpions, Briars and thorns” of the northern kingdom.
Today we explore who the “them” of the above scripture is and why God is driving them away from the land he had and still covenants belongs to them as an everlasting possession.
This is a good time to hear what God expects from his watchmen. His words to Ezekiel were: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so bear the Word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die, and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways he will die for his own sin, but you will have saved yourself.
THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH
God said these words to Ezekiel in the heavenly throne-room. This gives us an insight to the urgency of God’s grace and the certainty of God’s punishment.
Being the creator gives God the right to judge and have mercy on, or to destroy by death, the mortals who refuse to have reverence and humility toward him.
In this case person’s of a nation he chose to be his own. Citizens of the only nation he had delivered from slavery. Whom he appeared to visibly and spoken to audibly.
God’s discipline of Israel, (the “them” of today’s lesson), from Genesis to Revelation show in no uncertain terms his love for and his passion for a mutual Physical and spiritual relationship, with Israel in particular, and with the World in general.
Paul gives a good account of the gentile verse Jewish relationship in the New Testament book of Romans.
The eleventh chapter asks the question. Did God reject Israel? The immediate
Answer is no. Just as God did not totally reject Israel in Ezekiel’s lifetime of ministry which began with his call in July of 593 B. C. and the date of his last oracle of April 571. There has always been and will always be a remnant of faithful followers of God who are Jewish.
Paul ( a Jew)the teacher in Romans was singled out by the resurrected (Christ a mortal Jew) to minister to the gentiles. (Ezekiel was chosen by God as a watchman, for the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 1,164 years earlier), Paul was by pedigree a Jew. By choice an enemy of Christ and anyone who dared to serve Christ.
To proclaim Christ who died in disgrace on a cross as God’s son, was heresy and blasphemy worthy of punishment and death in Paul’s worldview.
In honor of your time I recommend you put Romans on your reading list. To help you get a better understanding of today’s lesson read chapter 11.
Paul uses the illustration of Elijah 1 Kings 18:16-19:18 to drive home Gods reservation of a remnant of Jewish faithful:
Elijah a prophet of God had just performed through God, a marvelous defeat of the four hundred and fifty prophets of the idol god Baal. And the 400 prophets of the idol Asherah, all of whom ate at the table of Jezebel the wife of King Ahab.
Elijah is cowering after the defeat of the prophets of the false gods worshiped by the king and queen. He feared for his life. He expects to be executed and tells God the Israelites have rejected God’s Covenant, broken down God’s altars, and killed all God’s prophets except him. Now he says they will kill him also. God answers by giving him a commission to go to Damascus and there to anoint a new king of Aram, a new king of Israel and a new prophet to replace him.
As a post script he informs Elijah he has reserved 7,000 whose knees have not bowed to Baal… Paul says, so too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by God’s grace and not by their works under the law. Paul asks a question What Then?
Israel as a national majority chose to reject Christ the elect Israelites of God sought and found him through faith by grace just as Paul had.
Of the hardened Paul quotes Deuteronomy 29:4…God gave them …a spirit of stupor eyes that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.
(Continuation of the old covenant “law and works”. Law cannot of itself redeem it condemns;
Rejection of Christ the Messiah and the New Covenant… Redemption by the grace of God and his mercy which opens blind eyes to faith in the blood sacrifice of Christ, once for all, who faithfully receive the free gift.)
And from Psalms 69:22, 23 Paul quotes David: May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs bent forever.
Paul once again asks if this means that Israel as a nation is beyond God’s redemption. Again Paul gives an immediate answer. Not at all! Because Israel transgressed to law salvation through faith in Christ has come to the gentiles to make Israel envious.
Paul warns gentiles not to be arrogant, but to be afraid. If God did not spare Israel condemnation for their rejection of Christ and his new covenant gentiles who reject Christ will share identical punishment.
Consider the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. If Israel turns from disbelief, they will become redeemed.
Paul tells us Israel has experienced a hardening of heart in part until the full number of gentiles, (non-Jews) come to faith in Christ. And a time will come and is coming when all Israel will be saved.
For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.