Ezekiel’s New Heart (04-10-21)
Ezekiel was both a priest and a prophet in Israel. His ministry began by warning the nation of the destruction to come if they did not turn back to God. When this actually happened he went with them into exile in Babylon from where he spoke of the hope to come when they did indeed turn back to God.
Bible Reading: Ezekiel 36:22,25-28
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
It is not for your sake, 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.
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. 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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
I wonder whether the medics in Ezekiel’s time, around 2,600 years ago, understood the concept of the hardening of the muscle of the heart or the hardening of the arteries? Such disease restricts the ability of the heart to pump the life-giving blood around the body. Whether or not they understood this, they clearly saw the heart as the centre of our feelings and referred to intransigence as a hardening of the heart.
There are now about 3,500 life-saving heart transplant operations taking place around the world each year, but the possibility of a successful heart transplant has only been available a little over fifty years ago. The possibility of a spiritual heart transplant, though, was available even in Ezekiel’s time.
God knew that for Israel to turn back to God it would require a complete change of heart, something that would only be possible at the death of Jesus for us on the cross. Through this God would cleanse us spiritually by sprinkling clean water on us to deal with our sin, he would then give us a new heart that would beat with his love and, if that was not enough, he would put his spirit within us so that we would have the strength and courage to make the right choices in life as we seek to follow him.
Spend a few moments reflecting on any things that you might need to bring to God in order to seek his cleansing, any attitudes where you might be being hard hearted or any situations where you might need the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit to help you make the right choices.
Praise God that, because of Jesus, we can come to him each day to be cleansed from the things we have done wrong, to have our hearts softened by his love, and to be filled afresh with his Holy Spirit.
Soften my heart, Lord, soften my heart From all indifference set me apart To feel Your compassion, to weep with Your tears Come soften my heart, O Lord, Soften my heart
Soften my heart