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July 20, 2017


by Leslie John

Leslie M. John

From Ezekiel 36:1-15

God said to Ezekiel the prophet to prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Yes to the mountains that were desolate that they should hear the word of the LORD.

It begins with the phrase, as usually, with the prefix “Thus says the LORD God”, which is to mean that the words that the prophet speaks are not from the prophet but are of the LORD God. Prophet is an instrument used by the LORD to convey His message. The LORD is Jehovah, who is the only God, the God of heavens and the earth, who lives forever and ever.

Israel never had a glowing history of being obedient to the LORD, but their history is filled with failures and disobedience to the LORD. It is not because the children of Israel deserved to be brought back to their land that the LORD brought them back but because He made promises to Abraham, the father of nations and Israel, reiterated to his son Isaac, and to his grandson Jacob that the promised child is Isaac, whose lineage continued through David and Lord Jesus Christ.

The LORD chastised the children of Israel whenever they disobeyed Him, but He did not leave them like orphans. The chastisement for their disobedience was very serious and the nations thought the children of Israel will never be restored to their former condition. They made fun of them and their land. When the LORD withdrew His grace from them the nations took possession of their land. When they called curse upon themselves for crucifying Jesus they had it in full. Their land became desolate and they were scattered all over the world. However, the LORD brought them back to their land and restored their language Hebrew as national language again.

Israel’s history shows that they did not keep the LORD’s commandments and statutes. He said to David and to his son Solomon that if they kept the commandment of the LORD they will have peace and will be blessed. God also promised that if they kept His statutes there shall be continually a king on the throne of David, but Solomon failed miserably and his kingdom became a bygone word. However, when they repented of their sins the LORD had compassion on them. (cf. Deuteronomy 28:37, Jeremiah 24:9)

“O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us”. (Daniel 9:16)

The nations saw their pathetic condition and they mocked at them. The LORD was not pleased with such mockery that His children suffered at the hands of nations. They said “Aha! And took pride in saying that “The ancient heights have become our possession”.

In order to humble the nations who took pride in the pathetic condition of the children of Israel, and because they thought they had victory over Israel with their might and wisdom, the LORD says to the mountains to hear His word.

It is precisely because the nations made the land of Israel desolate and crushed the children of Israel from all sides the LORD says, therefore, “O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD God”. The children of Israel became the cause for gossip of the people. They became the possession of the nations as a result of God’s anger over them.

No one is appointed as judges to judge Israel for their failures to obey the LORD. The LORD alone is the God who chastises them and restores them for His holy name sake. It is not because they deserved to be restored as a nation that they were brought back to their land but because it is for His Holy Name sake that the LORD restored them as a nation in 1948. God takes care of them.

When the heathen nations mocked at the children of Israel God turned against and punished them for mocking. He will do it again in the future also. The “mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities” of Israel became a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around, because the LORD chastised them for their sins.

The LORD God says, “Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey”, which was reference to Nebuchadnezzar who with his determination came against Jerusalem and took possession of it.

In the book of Hosea we see how God said about the children of Israel that He will not have mercy on them, and He will not be their God, and called them “empty vine”, and yet because He made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He said to them later that they are His people, and He will have mercy on them.

Therefore, the LORD says to Ezekiel to prophecy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys that the LORD spoke in His jealousy and in His fury because they bore shame of the heathen for a season, but the nations, who persecuted them, will suffer reproach perpetually.

According to the LORD’s prophecy the mountains of Israel shall shoot forth their branches and yield their fruit to the LORD’s people Israel. The children of Israel will come home soon. The LORD assures the mountains that He is for them and He will turn to them. They will be tilled and sown, and the LORD will multiply all the people of house of Israel. The cities will be inhabited and waste places will be rebuilt.

The LORD will multiply men and animals, who in turn shall multiply and be fruitful. The LORD will restore them as in their time past, and will love them even greater than ever before. Then they will know that He is the LORD. The LORD not only lets His people walk in their cities, but He will bring forth life and happiness again for other people also to walk in their cities and mountains.

The children of Israel shall possess the land and the mountains, and the land and the mountains will be their inheritance. The LORD will not allow Israel to be deprived of their children. The LORD says because the nations say to them that they devour people and they bereave their nation of children, therefore, they shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave their nation of children.

It is a declaration of the LORD. The LORD will not allow them to hear anymore the reproach of the nations. They will no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause their nations to stumble. It is the declaration of the LORD.

God says when someone does some harm to you, seek the help of God and He takes pity on your helpless condition and intervenes on your behalf. He gives you strength to deal with the situation and the LORD avenges your insult on your enemy because God said “Vengeance is mine”.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19)


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