24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Monday we looked at the first part of this chapter God spoke against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland! (v5) They were punished, not for doing His will, but doing it with glee and with malice in their hearts. With God it is always a matter of the heart!
So today we look at the second section of the chapter titled Israel’s Restoration Assured (v16-38). The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel where we are told why they were sent into exile
17a “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions.
18 So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.
Now it would be reasonable to think He is going to restore Israel because He is done with their punishment, but you would be wrong. It was not for their merit, they had none, recall what He said to Ezekiel just a few chapters back
30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. Ezekiel 33
So why is He restoring Israel when there is every reason to continue their punishment. It is to remove the dishonor brought on His name by His people and He has Ezekiel tell them just that
22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
Recall God has chosen them to be a light and bring salvation to the world. However, He is regularly disciplining for their sins then restoring, purifying, and blessing a remnant for His purposes and promises. That is what we see here, even giving them new hearts so His purposes will be accomplished
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Eventually the light would come through the Son, Jesus, and salvation through Him to the world.