Take Heart!

There is, no doubt, much anxiety and apprehension world-wide about the mideastern conflict and what must be seen as an anticipated effort by the nations surrounding Israel to remove the Jewish nation from its soil. As a Christian you might find consolation in the verses of Ezekiel 36 where God speaks—not to the people, but—to the land! God calls it his land—not the Jews nor the Palestinians.

[verse 5 NLT: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My jealous anger burns against these nations … because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves”]

Look closely at the context of these verses. It is obvious that there has been an aggressive media campaign against God’s interest for His land. [Verse 4 His land “became a … derision to the countries that are around it;” Verse 6 “The Lord’s land has borne the shame—ignominy, insults, of the surrounding peoples.”]

If the connection has not been made yet to the present conflict, consider God’s passion in verse 5 (here is the Greek translation): “Therefore thus saith the Lord, ‘Verily in the fire of my wrath have I spoken against the rest of the nations … because they have appropriated my land to themselves, disregarding the lives of the inhabitants, to destroy it by plunder.”

What this translation left out, which is important to note, is the celebrations in the streets around the world when the Jewish people are attacked [The NLT called the nations around them, “gleeful;” the NIV: “with glee and with malice in their hearts”]. The Bible word is “SiMCHaH meaning “to get great pleasure from.” You interpret this! God noted that it is “heart felt exultation” over Jewish pain. And then, God adds this description (a word used exclusively in Ezekiel’s prophecy): contempt “in their souls” for God’s land. This speaks, to me of a reckless disregard for God’s interests in Israel, a contempt “in the soul” that is borne on their very breath, possessed of a undefinable hate with a single cause in mind, “to “plunder it” [the Greek explains, “to destroy it by plunder”]

With God there always is a “but.” Remember, God is talking to the land! Verse 24 of Ezekiel’s prophecy, it is generally agreed, happened in May, 1948, but the “but” is yet to be completed. Verse 21 “BUT” God will have pity on His name.

“God will have pity on His name.”

God’s name is His reputation among a people He loves and has chosen to dwell among [Ezekiel 48:35, He ends on this note like a song filled with minor chords but always finishing on the perfect “note.”] God is passionate about His relationship with His people. (Jealous is the word used in Ezekiel 36. Divine jealousy is not a light rebuke.) Paul affirms in Romans 11 that this remains so! So God will rescue Israel but not because of them—none of us deserve His goodness—but because of grace, for His own name’s sake!

[Verse 22: “I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake”]

Take heart!

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