Kid’s Corner
Evidence the Spirit is Within Us
September 24, 2017
Ezekiel 36:22-32

Ezekiel 36:22-32
(Ezekiel 36:22) “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.
Ezekiel was taken to Babylon after the first deportation in 597 BC. Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon both before and after more Israelites were taken into exile in 587/586 BC. Before 586 BC, Ezekiel warned that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed because the Israelites refused to repent of their immoralities and idolatries. After 586 BC, the LORD encouraged the Israelites and said through Ezekiel that He would return them to their land. The LORD reminded them that because of their idolatry and sinfulness they had profaned His name among the nations both before and after they were taken into exile; therefore, He was not blessing them for their sake, but for the sake of His holy name. They did not deserve to be rescued from their exile in Babylon or have their nation restored to prosperity. After the house of Israel had gone into exile, the surrounding nations had mocked both the LORD and the Israelites, calling the LORD a weak tribal god who could not save His people from their enemies. Because the nations mocked and profaned the name of LORD, the LORD would restore the Israelites physically to their land as well as morally and spiritually; thus, the nations would learn that the sovereign LORD was indeed holy and Almighty, and He had punished the Israelites for their sins. God also declared that He would punish the nations around Israel for their sins and unnecessary violence against His people, which He later did with the fall of Babylon seventy years later and the nations that surrounded Israel.
(Ezekiel 36:23) “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, the LORD said once again that the Israelites had profaned His name among the nations where they had been sent into exile when the northern kingdom fell in 722 BC and the southern kingdom fell in 587/586 BC. God would act in history and restore the house of Israel so these nations would know that He was the LORD over all. God would show the nations and prove that He was right, reasonable, and justified when He sent the house of Israel into exile as punishment for their sins, and then later graciously restored them to their land and made them spiritually new people, a holy people dedicated to serving the LORD alone, a people who would never serve pagan idols again (though they did continue to sin in other ways).
(Ezekiel 36:24) “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.
God fulfilled this prophecy partially seventy years later when many Jews returned from exile in Babylon and eventually rebuilt the kingdom, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple. Jerusalem and the rebuilt temple were destroyed once again and the Jews were dispersed among the nations in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the nation because of the people’s rebellion as they followed a false Messiah. Some Bible teachers believe this prophecy was fulfilled once again in 1948 when the nation of Israel was restored.
(Ezekiel 36:25) “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
It seems the house of Israel never fell into idolatry again after returning from exile in Babylon, though by the time of Jesus many of the religious leaders and the elite among them were totally corrupt. Ezekiel spoke of the time of the Messiah. John the Baptist baptized to prepare people for the coming of Jesus the Messiah, but only by the shedding of the blood of Jesus and by faith in Him can anyone be clean from all their uncleannesses. Ezekiel’s prophecy teaches that cleansing must come before God will fill anyone with His Holy Spirit. John wrote: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Ezekiel’s prophecy refers to what the Messiah would do when and after He came. Only after Jesus comes again will He take the house of Israel from all the countries and bring them to the Promised Land.

1 John 1:7, 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
(Ezekiel 36:26) “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
After we have been cleansed (see above), God will give us a new heart and a new spirit within us. This specific messianic promise has been fulfilled with the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus has removed the heart of stone within believers, and He “has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5). Jesus Christ has put a new heart and a new spirit into all who have placed their faith in Him. Jesus has renewed their minds, given them new thoughts and desires, and strengthened their wills to follow and obey Him wherever He leads. Jesus has given His followers a new inclination and motivation to love His Father and Him supremely, to obey them in all things, to be God-centered instead of self-centered and selfish. God has removed the stubborn and rebellious attitude that characterizes unrepentant sinners, and has given the followers of Jesus a teachable mind eager to know the will of God for their individual lives so they can glorify and honor the LORD who has saved them by grace through faith.
Revelation 1:5, 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
(Ezekiel 36:27) “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
The LORD has done more for the followers of Jesus Christ than just give them a new attitude and motivation for all they do. God has put His Holy Spirit within all those He has drawn to Jesus for salvation. By His Spirit within those who trust in Jesus, believers earnestly desire and choose to walk according to the Scriptures, the commandments of God, and the teachings of Jesus. They have a tender conscience and carefully try to avoid temptations and obey all that Jesus has commanded. If they sin, they are quick to repent, take responsibility for their wrong choices, ask God’s forgiveness, and seek to serve Christ faithfully in the future, the Lord being there Helper. Peter described the condition of true Christians and wrote to God’s elect: “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you” (1 Peter 1:2).
1 Peter 1:2, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
(Ezekiel 36:28) “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
After speaking about the land in the first verses of Ezekiel chapter 36, the LORD once again reaffirmed that the house of Israel would dwell once again in the land that He had given to their fathers. Having been carried into exile, during the next seventy years, they would need continued reassurance that the LORD had not abandoned them but considered them His people and that they would be in a relationship with Him where He would be their God and they would consider Him their God. He would prove that He was there God by what He would do in returning them to their land and spiritually transforming them in the future.
(Ezekiel 36:29) “Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.
More important than returning them to the land, which would be a sign to them and to the nations that the LORD was God Almighty, the LORD promised that He would deliver them from all their uncleannesses. The LORD would deliver them from all the uncleannesses that they had become slaves to, even as the LORD had delivered their ancestors from physical slavery in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land. After the house of Israel returned from exile to Judea, they and the nations that surrounded them would see the power of Almighty God as He gave them an abundance of food.
(Ezekiel 36:30) “I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.
History has shown that this verse will only be fulfilled with and after the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. It was fulfilled substantially for many years after the house of Israel returned after their exile, but because of their disobedience they did suffer disgrace again. The nation of Israel today also seems to be substantially receiving this blessing from God.
(Ezekiel 36:31) “Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations.
Repentant sinners who come to saving faith in Jesus Christ still remember many of their evil ways and deeds that were not good. They sometimes loath themselves for their iniquities and abominations. The Apostle Paul wrote this about Christians: “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” (Romans 6:21). If Christians remember those things that they are now ashamed of, that will help them avoid doing those things once again when tempted. Paul wanted all Christians to live in ways that they would never be ashamed of and have the courage to exalt Christ by all they did: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Sometimes becoming ashamed of what we have done will help us do right in the future. Paul told his fellow Christians what they can do to help those who have turned back to their iniquities so they might repent: “Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed” (2 Thessalonians 3:14). And finally, especially to those of us who teach the Bible, Paul wrote: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Romans 6:21, 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Philippians 1:20, 20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

2 Thessalonians 3:14, 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

2 Timothy 2:15, 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(Ezekiel 36:32) “I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”
Christians are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. God does not save us for our sake, but because He loves us despite all the evil we have done. God saves us because God is loving and merciful, and God provided a way to justly save us through the gift of His Son, who died in our place. It is not because of any good we have done that God acts in our behalf. We should be ashamed of our previous ways, and we are (confounded; bewildered; confused; disgraced; dismayed; perplexed) when we think about the many unreasonable ways we have acted in the past (which demonstrates that before Christ saved us we were previously slaves of Satan and sin: only Jesus Christ could free us). Therefore, Christians rejoice and thank God that He has saved us in spite of ourselves, that He has cleansed us from our iniquities, filled us with His Spirit, and given us a new heart and empowerment to love and obey His commands in the service of Jesus Christ and others. Christ has freed us, transformed us, and we gratefully rejoice in Him. Furthermore, we have become lovingly concerned for others, and we want them to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior too.

Evidence the Spirit is Within Us
September 24, 2017
Ezekiel 36:22-32

“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27).
The prophet Ezekiel recorded the words of the LORD and foretold His sending the Holy Spirit into His people. God promised that after He cleansed His people from all their impurities and idolatries that He would give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them (Ezekiel 36:25-26). After Jesus died on the cross, God cleansed from sin all who believed in Him, and He will cleanse from sin all who will believe in Him. The Apostle John wrote: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). After cleansing believers in Jesus, God gives them a new heart (a new ability to reason, understand the Scriptures, and make right choices) and a new spirit (a spirit of love for God, Jesus, and others that overcomes self-centeredness, selfishness, and sin), Having been cleansed from their sins by the blood of Jesus, and having received a new heart and spirit from God, on the Day of Pentecost Jesus’ followers received the promised Holy Spirit within them. Peter preached that this promise is “for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). Within Ezekiel’s prophecy, we find some of the best indications that God has fulfilled His promise in someone’s life. The Spirit of God will move them to love God and seek God’s purposes for them, and they will follow His decrees and be careful to keep His laws.
Ezekiel 36:25-26, 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

1 John 1:7, 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Acts 2:39, 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

ThinkingFurther
Evidence the Spirit is Within Us
September 24, 2017
Ezekiel 36:22-32
Name ________________________________

1. For whose sake and why did the LORD say He would restore the house of Israel to their land?

2. Do you think the house of Israel deserved to have their land restored to them? Give a reason for your answer.

3. What are some of the other blessings God promised the house of Israel in this lesson?

4. Do you think God has fulfilled some of His promises through Ezekiel? If you do, when and how?

5. Do you think it is helpful or harmful for Christians to be ashamed of their sins? Give a reason for your answer.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further
1. For whose sake and why did the LORD say He would restore the house of Israel to their land?
For the sake of the Lord’s name (honor), because He wanted the nations that had dishonored Him to know that He was God Almighty, the Sovereign LORD over all.
2. Do you think the house of Israel deserved to have their land restored to them? Give a reason for your answer.
No. They had disobeyed the LORD with their immoralities and idolatries despite repeated prophetic calls to repent and all the blessings God had bestowed upon them.
3. What are some of the other blessings God promised the house of Israel in this lesson?
He would remove all their uncleannesses. He would remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. He would give them His Spirit within them.
4. Do you think God has fulfilled some of His promises through Ezekiel? If you do, when and how?
Yes. Through the coming of Jesus the Messiah, who shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins and who gives the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him.
5. Do you think it is helpful or harmful for Christians to be ashamed of their sins? Give a reason for your answer.
Being ashamed of our sins can be helpful if Christians are reminded not to become repeat offenders and as a result become even more ashamed. Being ashamed can motivate believers to call out to Jesus for help when they are tempted to repeat their sins or feel ashamed of them.

Word Search
Evidence the Spirit is Within Us
September 24, 2017
Ezekiel 36:22-32

Name __________________________________

U W N G S S E N I L O H D K W
R K S C L M L H E Z X J I E L
S E I R T N U O C P E U L T V
M S L O D I H L A S W K R N B
R U M K L F E Y U S N G Y T Q
G E S F J C A S E I C T I R O
S Y D N K Z R I R I S R A E L
J O P E O W T P X E I J H F R
F N V M N I S E L P X A R E K
J D L E R A T H S R D L M D T
L E T U R I F A Z A Z E I N W
C N P N V E Z O N E M F P M Q
H M C T G F I X R B T X I G Z
I W F R K Q B G E P I J C H I
T C U D N O C R N W A T E R D

Israel
Sovereign
Holiness
Profaned
Nations
Holy
Countries
Sprinkle
Water
Impurities
Idols
Heart
Spirit
Remember
Conduct

True and False Test
Evidence the Spirit is Within Us
September 24, 2017
Ezekiel 36:22-32
Name _______________________
Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.
1. The Israelites profaned the name of the LORD in the nations where theywent into exile.True or False
2. The LORD told the Israelites that He was going to do things for the sakeof His holy name.True or False
3. The LORD told the Israelites that they should appreciate all that He wasdoing for their sake.True or False
4. God told the Israelites that He was going to prove He was holy to thenations through them.True or False
5. God told the Israelites that no matter what He did the nations would not know that He was the LORD. True or False
6. God told the Israelites that He would bring them back into their own land. True or False
7. God told the Israelites that if they would sprinkle water from the Jordan upon themselves that they would be clean. True or False
8. God told the Israelites that He would cleanse them from all their impurities and all their idols. True or False
9. God told the Israelites that He would give them a new heart and put His Spirit within them provided they followed His decrees and were careful to keep all of His laws. True or False
10. The LORD did not want the Israelites to feel ashamed and disgraced for their conduct; rather, they should feel forgiven and be happy. True or False

Answers to the True and False Test

1. True
2. True
3. False
4. True
5. False
6. True
7. False
8. True
9. False
10. False

Prayer
Heavenly Father, may a keen sense of our unworthiness bring forth the sense of shame that leads to repentance. May we never treat sin lightly or assume that it is anything less than detestable. May that attitude lead us to abandon sin and walk in holiness. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

ADULT LESSON

 

Sunday School Lesson
September 24
Spirit-Filled Heart

Devotional Reading: Isaiah 43:14-21
Isaiah 43:14-21, 14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
Background Scripture:Ezekiel 36, 37; Titus 3:1-11
Ezekiel 36:22-32
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Key Verse
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.—Ezekiel 36:26
Lesson Aims
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Summarize Ezekiel’s message of hope for the exiles in Babylon.
2. Explain how feeling shame for one’s sins can help the forgiven to lead lives of purity.
3. Identify one improvement to be made that will better exemplify the presence of God’s indwelling Spirit in his or her life and make a plan for change.
Introduction
A. It Just Sounds Better
Some words and phrases are meant to hinder communication. It is not uncommon for those in government or business to use euphemisms—nice-sounding words or phrases instead of their less attractive counterparts. Such a practice is so common that we may barely notice. We understand that a “previously acquired vehicle” is really just a used car. Those who are “economically disadvantaged” live in poverty. To end up in “correctional custody” is to be in prison.
Some euphemisms are more insidious than others. Admitting that a military attack resulted in “collateral damage” obscures the fact that innocent civilians died. A politician who “committed terminological inexactitude” has lied. And cries for “equal rights” may in some (but not all) circumstances be code words for an attempt to legalize immoral behavior.
Sadly, experience has taught us not to take people at face value. Too often people conduct themselves with hidden agendas as they hide behind obscure communication. But God is very clear about wanting new hearts in His people.
B. Lesson Background
Ezekiel prophesied from Babylon, where he had been taken captive along with the king of Judah and 10,000 others in 597 BC (2 Kings 24:12-14). In the fifth year of their captivity (592 BC), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, and his prophetic ministry began (Ezekiel 1:3).
2 Kings 24:12-14, 12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said.
14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.
Ezekiel 1:3, 3 The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.
Ezekiel was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. Both prophesied the end of the nation of Judah. Jerusalem would be destroyed and the temple defiled. Jeremiah preached this message in Jerusalem, where he was in danger of being executed for treason. But Jeremiah persisted and even wrote a letter to the exiles in Babylon, telling them to prepare for a lengthy captivity (Jeremiah 29:1-23).
Jeremiah 29:1-23, 1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;
2 (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)
3 By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,
4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;
5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;
6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.
7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.
9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord.
10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
15 Because ye have said, The Lord hath raised us up prophets in Babylon;
16 Know that thus saith the Lord of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, and of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity;
17 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
18 And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:
19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord.
20 Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon:
21 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes;
22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which are in Babylon, saying, The Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;
23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord.

Ezekiel echoed the same message while in Babylon. As a captive himself, he encouraged his fellow Israelites not to believe the false rumors of an early return from exile. The first 30 chapters of the book that bears his name predict the dire consequences of sin on Judah and surrounding nations.
Word came of the prophecy’s fulfillment—Jerusalem had indeed fallen (Ezekiel 33:21). From that point on, the prophet’s tone became softer, more comforting. He provided a foundation for faith and hope. Though the city had fallen, God had not forgotten His people. Relief would come.
Ezekiel 33:21, 21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
I. Holy Name (Ezekiel 36:22-24)
A. Profaned (v. 22)
22. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
The phrase the house of Israel refers to Ezekiel’s fellow exiles in Babylon (see the Lesson Background). It is to them that the current message from the Lord God is directed.
In the time between the arrival of news that Jerusalem had fallen and the declarations that begin in the verse before us, the Lord makes about three dozen pronouncements regarding actions He intends to implement personally. Slightly more than half are statements of positive intent regarding the future status of His true “sheep” (example: Ezekiel 34:11), elsewhere referred to as “a remnant” (example: Ezra 9:8). The statements of negative intent are directed against various groups that oppress and/or mislead His sheep.
Ezekiel 34:11, 11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

Ezra 9:8, 8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
But God will not take the positive actions because the people are righteous or entitled to such a blessing. Quite the contrary! As Joshua led Israel into the promised land some eight centuries before, God had already warned the Israelites not to defile themselves and the land by imitating the religious practices of the previous inhabitants. To do so would result in removal from the land (Leviticus 18:24-30).
Leviticus 18:24-30, 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.
How to Say It
Assyria Uh-sear-ee-uh.
Babylon Bab-uh-lun.
Babylonian Bab-ih-low-nee-un.
Canaan Kay-nun.
Ezekiel Ee-zeek-ee-ul or Ee-zeek-yul.
Gentiles Jen-tiles.
Heat henhee-thun.
Judeans Joo-dee-unz.
Leviticus Leh-vit-ih-kus.

That is exactly what had happened, however. As a result, the people earned God’s judgment and were driven from the land into exile. Israel, the northern kingdom, was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC. Judah, the southern kingdom, was taken to Babylon in a series of deportations that began in about 605 BC.
So Ezekiel speaks to people who are guilty of defiling their land. They have received God’s just judgment. But the Babylonians, with very few exceptions (Jeremiah 40:1-3), do not see it that way. They see a people conquered by their own armies and gods. This is one way the Israelites have profaned God’s name, since it allows the Babylonians to see Him as inferior to worthless idols.
Jeremiah 40:1-3, 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.
2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, TheLord thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place.
3 Now the Lord hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.
God will not tolerate this forever. So for His holy name’s sake, He will show himself greater than the gods of Babylon (compare Exodus 12:12).
Exodus 12:12, 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
B. Sanctified (vv. 23, 24)
23. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
The solution to (or prevention of ) the profaning of God’s name is to make it holy—to sanctify it. The pagan Gentiles (the heathen) believe their gods to be greater than the Lord; they think this has been proven because they have taken the Lord’s people captive. But the Lord will do something that will reverse such thinking. Exactly what that will be is the subject of the next verse.
Before we go there, however, we should consider the designation the Lord God. The prefaces to many editions of the Bible explain that the English rendering Lord with capital letters indicates that the divine name YHWH is being translated. By comparison, the rendering Lord with small letters indicates translation of a different word. When the two Hebrew words are adjacent (as they are about 300 times in the Old Testament) the translation in the King James Version is the Lord God, as we see here.
Sanctifying His Name
Jewish people of biblical times grew into the practice of not vocalizing God’s name. They didn’t want to be guilty of speaking it lightly or irreverently. How different from today, when many people use His name merely as a filler expression! Some try to avoid a problem by substituting words such as golly, gosh, or geez in place of the holy names of God and Jesus.
One wonders if misuse of God’s name is tied somehow to the larger issue of religious terminology as used in profane or even just flippant ways. The Bible words hell and holy seem to be particular favorites in this regard. Is a person who unthinkingly exclaims “Holy cow!” thereby more prone to misuse God’s name as well?
Perhaps the old axiom “when in doubt, throw it out” will serve us well here. Rather than seeing how close we can get to a fire without being burned, we are better served by keeping our distance. But beware: attempts to change speech patterns by mere force of will won’t work since unholy utterances spring from an unholy heart (Matthew 15:8, 18). —C. R. B.
Matthew 15:8, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Matthew 15:18, 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
24. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
The most obvious defeat of the fictitious gods of the Gentiles will be in the return of God’s people to their homeland. The defeat of God’s people and their deportation to Babylon has created the impression that the Babylonian gods are greater than the Lord; that defeat has caused His name to be profaned. The Lord’s reversing of that condition will prove He is, after all, superior to them; His name will be sanctified (compare Exodus 12:12). God’s sanctifying of His name and His holiness is connected with correcting misperceptions of the heathen in several places in this book (see Ezekiel 20:9, 14, 22, 41; 37:28; 39:7, 21, 23).
Exodus 12:12, 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 20:9, 9 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 20:14, 14 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.

Ezekiel 20:22, 22 Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth.

Ezekiel 20:41, 41 I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.

Ezekiel 37:28, 28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Ezekiel 39:7, 7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.

Ezekiel 39:21, 21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.

Ezekiel 39:23, 23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.
What Do You Think?
How might God act to exalt His name today in spite of unfaithfulness?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding contexts within the church
Regarding contexts outside the church
II. Holy People (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
A. From Filthy to Clean (v. 25)
25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Not only will the people be returned to their homeland, they also will be cleansed or purified. To sprinkle clean water on people is the language of ritual purification (Leviticus 14:1-7, 49-52; Numbers 8:5-7; 19:11-13, 16-20; compare Hebrews 10:22). This is more than ritual, however. The cleansing from idolatry will be effective; after the exile, Judah will never again be led into the worship of idols. Some students think the reference to water in this verse and to spirit in the next verse form the background of Jesus’ statement in John 3:5.
Leviticus 14:1-7, 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

Leviticus 14:49-52, 49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:

Numbers 8:5-7, 5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
6 Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.
7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.

Numbers 19:11-13, 11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.

Numbers 19:16-20, 16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:
18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:
19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.
20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.
Hebrews 10:22, 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

John 3:5, 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
What Do You Think?
What idols do people worship today? How do we get people to see their error?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding the idols of those who make no pretense of faith in God
Regarding the idols of those who divide allegiance between God and something else
B. From Stone to Flesh (v. 26)
26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Dr. Christiaan Barnard is credited with performing the first successful human heart transplant (December 3, 1967). But centuries before, God promises not only a new heart for the exiles of Judah, but also a new spirit (compare Ezekiel 18:31). In many texts, the words spirit (or Spirit) and flesh signify different spheres that may be opposed to one another (examples: John 3:6; Romans 7; Galatians 5). But here God’s promise of a new spirit goes hand in hand with the promise of a new heart of flesh for the people. Their old hearts of stone (Ezekiel 11:19) must be replaced.
Ezekiel 18:31, 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

John 3:6, 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Ezekiel 11:19, 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
No mention is made of the old spirit in the people, but it must be a mind-set that is opposed to God and His will. Another prophet speaks of “the spirit of whoredoms” in describing fascination with idolatry (Hosea 4:12; 5:4). The people’s spirit of rebellion needs to be replaced (next verse).
Hosea 4:12, 12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.

Hosea 5:4, 4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord.
C. From Disobedience to Obedience (v. 27)
27. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel 11:19, mentioned above, was the first time the prophet relayed God’s promise of a new heart and a new spirit for the people. That was spoken a few years before Jerusalem had fallen. At that time the people still there were saying that the exiles were separated from the Lord, but they themselves were not. They were claiming that God had disinherited the Judeans taken into exile, and ownership of the land belonged to those in Jerusalem (11:15). This thinking amounted to casting all blame onto those already in captivity and claiming God’s favor for themselves.
Ezekiel 11:19, 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Ezekiel 11:15, 15 Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the Lord: unto us is this land given in possession.
But that is not God’s point of view! Those who had been deported to Babylon earlier had actually found “sanctuary” (Ezekiel 11:16). God intends to return the exiles to Judah as He puts a new heart and new spirit in them at that time (11:17-20). The obstinate and unrepentant people who were not taken in an earlier deportation ultimately suffer the greater punishment (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chronicles 36:15-20). The message in the verse before us, coming after the fall of Jerusalem, is a reminder of the earlier promise. The city’s fall is not cause for despair; rather, it is evidence that the promise in Ezekiel 11 is still valid. With the spirit of rebellion removed and a new spirit from the Lord implanted, the people will indeed turn from their former disobedience.
Ezekiel 11:16, 16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

Ezekiel 11:17-20, 17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

2 Kings 25:1-21, 1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.
2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:
9 And he burnt the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.
10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.
12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.
14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.
16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.
18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:
20 And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:
21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.
2 Chronicles 36:15-20, 15 And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
What Do You Think?
What are some proper and improper ways to help fellow Christians exhibit behavior that conforms to the expectations of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us?
Points for Your Discussion
In light of “don’t judge” passages such as Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37, 41, 42; John 8:7; and James 4:11, 12
Matthew 7:1-5, 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Luke 6:37, 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Luke 6:41, 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Luke 6:42, 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

John 8:7, 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

James 4:11, 11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

James 4:12, 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
In light of “do judge” passages such as Matthew 7:15-20; Luke 6:43-45; 1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; and 1 John 4:1-3
Matthew 7:15-20, 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Luke 6:43-45, 43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
1 Corinthians 5:12, 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

1 Corinthians 5:13, 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

1 John 4:1-3, 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
III. Fertile Land (Ezekiel 36:28-30)
A. Land of Fathers (v. 28)
28. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Those left behind in Judah after 597 BC, “the poorest sort of the people” (2 Kings 24:14), had been claiming that the land of Canaan no longer belonged to those taken into exile. But God is the one who gave the land to the fathers (patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) in the first place, through the leadership of Joshua (about 1400 BC). And God reserves for himself the decision regarding present and future ownership of the land of promise. All the tribes of divided Israel have forfeited this gift (see on Ezekiel 36:22, above). Even so, God promises to bring back the exiled Judeans—not merely to the land, but to a relationship with Him (compare Jeremiah 30:22).
2 Kings 24:14, 14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

Ezekiel 36:22, 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

Jeremiah 30:22, 22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
B. Absence of Famine (vv. 29, 30)
29. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
The people’s impurity is due to idol worship (Ezekiel 36:25, above). By turning to the Lord, the people will be pure once again. Famine, often a discipline of the Lord for unfaithfulness (examples: Deuteronomy 32:19-24; 1 Kings 17:1), will no longer be a problem. To the contrary, the crops will be abundant; the Lord himself will cause the bounty. (The word corn in the King James Version does not refer to maize, which is unknown in the time and place of the text, but to grains or kernels in general; compare John 12:24.)
Ezekiel 36:25, 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Deuteronomy 32:19-24, 19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.

1 Kings 17:1, 1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

John 12:24, 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

30. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
The abundance will extend to all agriculture, whether the fruit of the tree or the crops of the field. Agriculture in Israel includes grapes, olives, figs, and grains such as wheat and barley.
Famine brings not just physical suffering but also shame, especially when marked as an act of divine punishment. Bountiful crops, the opposite of famine, remove that reproach and disgrace. The heathen nations will no longer look at the Lord’s people as abandoned by Him.
What Do You Think?
How would you respond to a believer who uses Ezekiel 36:29, 30 to assert that those who are truly cleansed by God will never face economic reversals or hardships?
Ezekiel 36:29, 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

Ezekiel 36:30, 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
Points for Your Discussion
Considering the context of the passage
Considering Matthew 19:23, 24; John 15:20; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; Revelation 2:9; etc.
Matthew 19:23, 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:24, 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

John 15:20, 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10, 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Revelation 2:9, 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Other
IV. Repentant People (Ezekiel 36:31, 32)
A. Ashamed (v. 31)
31. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

Having been blessed by the grace of God, the Israelites will come to see clearly how disgraceful their former behavior has been. They will repent of their former ways, coming to loathe their past unfaithfulness (compare Ezekiel 6:9).
Ezekiel 6:9, 9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
The iniquities and abominations of the exiles are grounded in idol worship. The Israelites were told hundreds of years earlier that they were neither to worship the fictitious gods of the pagans nor worship the Lord God in the manner that the pagans worshipped their gods (Exodus 23:24; Deuteronomy 12:30, 31). But the people are guilty of both, having engaged in grossly immoral practices in the process. They will do well to loathe such behavior.
Exodus 23:24, 24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.

Deuteronomy 12:30, 30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

Deuteronomy 12:31, 31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
Loathing . . . What?
The term self-loathing has come into vogue in recent years. It commonly refers to a person who is uncomfortable with his or her identity. Self-loathing may result from being identified as part of a certain demographic segment of humanity, inclusion in which the individual has no control over. Self-hate (a sometime synonym) may also be traced to voluntary choices that have resulted in destructive and/or shameful behavior. Self-hatred is understandable in many contexts. But it is better to focus hatred on the behavior that breaks relationship with God: the behavior of sin.
The nation of Israel as a whole had sinned against God in serious ways. Prophets had called for repentance, but the nation had refused. The people had every reason to hate their shameful, sinful behavior (a first step toward repentance), but many or most did not. Failure of leadership to set the proper example played a large part (Ezekiel 8:9-12; 13:1-7; 14:1-3). Ezekiel’s message was rejected by the people who should have been most aware of their sin, namely those with whom he shared exile. But they thought little of him and his message (33:30-32).
Ezekiel 8:9-12, 9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.

Ezekiel 13:1-7, 1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord;
3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken?

Ezekiel 14:1-3, 1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
2 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

Ezekiel 33:30-32, 30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
Being created in the image of God is the best reason for not hating ourselves (Genesis 1:26, 27). But that is also the best reason to hate sin, a vital step toward repentance and forgiveness. That doesn’t mean having a “holier than thou” attitude. It does mean having a desire to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16). —C. R. B.
Genesis 1:26, 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:27, 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

1 Peter 1:15, 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1 Peter 1:16, 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
What Do You Think?
To what extent is it appropriate for Christians to engage in self-loathing? Why?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding voluntary choices
Regarding involuntary circumstances
B. Confounded (v. 32)
32. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Once again God confirms that the people have not earned any consideration. He does not intend to act for their sake, but for His own. He does not reward any merit on their part. They have no merit. Their deeds deserve only rejection.
God wants the exiles to understand this, so He takes care to explain it and repeat the explanation. The people are to be ashamed of their former conduct. The grace He will grant them is not to mislead them into thinking that His favor is due to anything on their part. He wants them to see their former behavior for what it is.
That is the only sure deterrent to repeating bad behavior. The law can impose penalties, but that by itself does not prevent a repetition of the unlawful behavior. The person who has sinned has to come to see the sinfulness of his or her own behavior. That is what God challenges the people to do. Once they come to see their own sin’s shamefulness, its disgrace, they will be cured of repeating it.
Ever since the time of the judges, which began about 1380 BC, the people have wavered between faithfulness to God and the worship of idols. Elijah had offered the people this challenge on Mount Carmel: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). The wavering must stop!
1 Kings 18:21, 21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Conclusion
A. Learning to Blush
Everyone has had the experience of saying something embarrassing. Perhaps it was as innocent as simply getting our words tangled so that what came out of our mouths was not at all what we intended. Or maybe it was not so innocent, and we said something unkind about an individual whom we thought was not within earshot. Then we realized the person overheard us after all. The combination of words and circumstance caused us to embarrass ourselves. And we blushed. It’s a natural reaction.
But Jeremiah spoke of a time in Israelite history when the people did not know how to blush. They sinned against God and, when they learned of their sin, still felt no shame. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush” (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12).
Jeremiah 6:15, 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 8:12, 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.
When Ezekiel told the people to be “ashamed and confounded,” he used a Hebrew word very closely associated with the one translated “blush” in Jeremiah. Both men lived in a culture where shame seemed to be a lost concept. The same was true in Paul’s day (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2). The same is true in ours.
1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

1 Corinthians 5:2, 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
And what a great loss it is! Until we can be ashamed of our sin, we will not be able to see things as God does.
B. Prayer
Heavenly Father, may a keen sense of our unworthiness bring forth the sense of shame that leads to repentance. May we never treat sin lightly or assume that it is anything less than detestable. May that attitude lead us to abandon sin and walk in holiness. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
C. Thought to Remember
For hearts to be changed, they must be receptive to change.