I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.’ “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:17-20
Today's thoughts from today's verse:
In the Ezekiel passage above God tells us he is the Sovereign Lord. This means he is in charge of the universe and as the one who is in charge he knows what needs to be done and he has the authority and power to do it. God intends to succeed at creating a people for himself who live fully for him and who in the end fulfill what he has in mind for them. The restoration of humanity is what motivates God to send the Messiah to make this possible. Israel had failed to walk with God as his people in Old Testament times and Ezekiel gives God’s promise of what will happen in the future. A new covenant will be established by Christ. Because Israel as a nation did not receive Christ the Messiah when he came, the provision of new covenant through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, moves from the nation of Israel to the church - individuals from all nations. The promise of the new covenant for the nation of Israel becomes something that will come into play at the second coming of Christ.
In the new covenant arrangement God establishes with the church, his plan is to give people hearts that are willing, tender, responsive, focused, and filled with his Spirit with the result being they are obedient to his desires and intentions for them. God knows that the heart is the key. With hearts under the control of God's Spirit, his people will be delivered and kept from the heart's natural propensity for sin and evil. The new covenant is all about the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that Christ works from the inside out in the lives of willing people. The new covenant or new way is made possible through the sacrifice of Christ for sin. It is after the resurrection that the fullness of the Gospel is in place so that the forgiveness of sins and the gift of God's indwelling Holy Spirit come to all who will believe.
Keeping in mind all we’ve just talked about, picture Jesus here on earth fully absorbed in and motivated by the prospect of a restored humanity. Now picture Jesus (fully absorbed in and motivated by his mission of restoration) coming up against the complicated Jewish system of religious works and those who were its most avid proponents. This is where “kingdom vigilance” comes into play. Jesus knows what is best for humanity and he is here to provide a way for humanity to be restored to God and all that is best for them. And yet here before him is the essence of everything that is not what humanity needs. “Kingdom vigilance” is fueled by a healthy indignation for everything that keeps people in bondage to legalism and license and causes them to miss the way of the Spirit through Christ.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to go full tilt with the way of the Spirit through Christ, both in my life and in my desire to see this come about in the lives of others. Give me a healthy indignation for anything that undermines what you are trying to do in peoples lives. A “kingdom vigilance” is taking root in my life and I, too, am being motivated by the prospect of your restoring presence and power being allowed to take place freely in the lives of people everywhere. Amen!
Posted on Wed, June 15, 2016
by Alan Porter