By Benjamin H. Liles
It's an interesting thing to me as I look at Ezekiel 36. I had just read where God said to the enemy of our souls, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" (Job 1:8, New King James). What does this have to do with the nation of Israel in Ezekiel 36? More likely the statement God makes to Satan is that Jesus is perfect and blameless, as He says of Job.
But let's backtrack a little. We can surely substitute the name of God's Son, Jesus, here. But then we can do the same with Israel. Why? Jesus isn't simply a Jew. He descends from Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, renamed Israel. So, in that sense, Israel can also be put in the place of Job.
But more specifically, I refer to this: "But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children" (Ezekiel 36:8-12).
So, when we look at what is said here: "Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers" (Job 41:12-15), we see a God who blesses and renews in His own time. He does it with job, and He says He will do it toward Israel. Okay, we're done.
Or are we? If we take a hard look at the life of Israel, both as a people and a nation, God's love for her is never waning. If anything His love for her has remained the same, and yet God cannot stand the sight of men's sin. He deals with those who are in error, and brings those who are humble, as we have seen countless times in many articles He has had me share with you.
What God desires more than anything from His creation: men and women alike is for us all, not simply Israel, but all people to come to Him; acknowledging Him, bringing Him glory and majesty. It happens when we look to the cross where Jesus had everything taken from Him--His life, His glory and fame (in a sense as people loved being around Him)--so that we can share in His righteousness, His holiness before a just God. Don't get me wrong God doesn't desire any to perish, but as John records in his gospel account of Jesus, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:18-20).
If we want God's blessing and renewal on our lives, just as with Israel, we need to take God's word into full account and see ourselves as God does. We are sinners, who live sinful lives, and without God's cleansing and restoration of us we are set apart for where death and evil resides: hell. Mankind is ill-suited for such a place as that. God's desire is for us to "Reason together; though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool" (Isaiah 1:18, Berean Study).
Surely if we desire God's blessing and renewal upon us we have to allow Him to send us His Spirit, showing us just how dark our works and imaginations are, for us to turn from them--not doing them any longer or even delighting in them, and to live lives according to the standard Jesus gave for us. It is only by the power of His Holy Spirit, and to live in His light, love and truth can we even begin to hope and to live in Him. It is time to put off the deeds of darkness and to live in the light of His grace, truth and love. So, dear reader, this is for you. It is always my continued hope and prayer this encourages and builds you up. In the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.