Hope: Surprisingly Real
God of Hope, give me an undivided heart and fill me with Your good Spirit that I might serve You in the way that pleases You.
Read Ezekiel 11:14-25
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these words ‘Wait and Hope’” (Alexander Dumas).
I think one of the biggest challenges for Christians is to follow Paul’s instructions to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “mourn [weep] with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). How can we rejoice when there is so much in our world to weep about? How can we weep without losing our sense of the real joy that the Gospel brings?
Ezekiel was faced with a similar problem. His main task, at least in these early chapters, was to convince the Judean community in Babylon that their exile was not unfair and meaningless but the result of God’s well-deserved judgment on the corruption, injustice and idolatry endemic in their nation. However, that could and should never be taken to mean that they were without hope! At this point those who were still living in Jerusalem saw themselves as heroes and the early exiles as villains who deserved everything they got.
Ezekiel elsewhere makes it very clear that Jerusalem too was going to be destroyed (as happened a short while after this) and that in fact God’s firm intention was eventually not only to bless the exiles but to bring them back to their own land. He calls them to be realistic about judgment but also realistic about hope. Yes, the glory of the Lord had departed from the Temple but that didn’t mean that God no longer cared for the people. In fact–in spite of the mockery of the current Jerusalem residents–that same glory was now to be seen as “above” the group of exiles (22). Wow! God was with them in exile, and, apart from those who deliberately rejected God’s covenant, he would transform them by his Spirit into those who could once more “be my people” (20). Ezekiel’s message of judgment was not meant to bring them to despair but to a real hope!
Ask God today to show you the areas where your heart needs to be transformed and to fill you with the hope of his glory.
Lord, the way I live often misrepresents the God I proclaim. I want to reveal Your glory and make Your name famous. Do Your work in me.