Buds and Blossoms – Ezekiel 36

The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root.
    Israel will bud and blossom
    and fill the whole earth with fruit!
Isaiah 27:6 (NLT)

Even through their most challenging times, the Lord has never forgotten His people, Israel.  Scattered throughout His many prophecies of warning due to their persistent unfaithfulness and idolatry, God has always promised to regather and bless them and to be with them into eternity.  We see evidence of this in that their nation still exists today, many thousands of years after Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others wrote down God’s prophetic messages.   

“But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit for my people—for they will be coming home again soon! See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted. 10 I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people. 11 I will increase not only the people, but also your animals. O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will cause my people to walk on you once again, and you will be their territory. You will never again rob them of their children.

22 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. 23 I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 36:8-12,22-23 (NLT)

Most people of faith were not born that way.  Many of us walked out long stretches in our life as if God did not even exist.  Some days, we still do.  But in His great mercy, God came to us – not because we deserve anything from Him, but because of His great love towards us and to show His great name over the earth.

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7 (NASB)

Such is the case with us and with Israel today.  Many there do not even believe in God.  But the prophets tell us that the washing of His Spirit and a new heart of faith will be coming to His people – wait for it!

25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NLT)

God comes to many of us when we least deserve it.  We may be in a drunken stupor or a jail cell or someplace where we should not be when the Lord suddenly touches our hardened heart and tells us that life does not have to be this bad.  In fact, it can be wonderful.  He offers us a way out and a new life full of goodness and joy if we will be open to it.  It only takes an ounce of willingness to begin a faith journey with God’s endless blessings.

Reflection

All believers need healthy growth to bud and blossom each day to experience God’s peace and serenity and to be a blessing to those around us.  As imperfect people, we often fall short of His will and purpose for us.  The good news is that in Christ, He gives us a daily cleansing and forgiveness by His Spirit to allow us a new start.  As someone has said, it is never too late to start the day over.

Who around me needs to hear a word of love or encouragement today?

Father God, thank You so much for Your daily mercy and the cleansing offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Put Your Spirit within us to help us to walk more like Jesus on our life’s journey.  Grant relief to those who are suffering today and help me to do my part.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


 [BM1]

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