“And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
Oh, these verses are like drinking water in a desert, when it comes to reading through Ezekiel and just seeing God’s just and righteous judgment upon sin and idolatry and immorality among his people.
Ezekiel points us toward a new covenant where God, through Jesus Christ, does what we could not do.
And yet in the middle of Ezekiel 11 here, we see this promise that God is, even in his discipline, God is accomplishing a purpose and will one day restore his people to himself, remove these detestable things and abominations from among them.
And they will have a new spirit in them. “Remove the heart of stone,” God says. “I’ll remove it from their flesh. I’ll give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes, keep my rules and obey them. They shall be my people. I will be their God.”
Now this is, one of a couple different places in Ezekiel where we see prophecy promises of the new covenant, which by the way, is what testament means. It’s a covenant between God and his people that Jesus would make possible as we get into the New Testament of the Bible.
The Book of Ezekiel in this sense, especially as we read about judgment after judgment, after judgment from God, is a clear reminder that we need God to do what we cannot do ourselves. We need God to save us from our sins, forgive us, cleanse us from our sins.
We need God to give us a new spirit and to put a new spirit in us that enables us to walk in his statutes, keep his rules and obey them. We can’t do that on our own.
And this is where we’ve got to be so careful as followers of Jesus, as those who have trusted in Jesus, not to live, like we can obey God’s statutes and rules, walk in his ways, in our flesh on our own. We need his spirit inside of us, leading, guiding, directing, helping, empowering us to live according to the life he’s called us to. And that’s exactly what the spirit of God is in us for.
So I just want to encourage you today. I want to pray accordingly that you would not live today in the flesh, meaning in your own attempts to obey God and to do what he has called us to do, but that you would live in the power of the spirit of God in you, who enables you to walk in God’s statutes and keep his rules and obey them that you and I would live spirit filled, spirit directed, Holy Spirit empowered lives.
And God, may it be so. We praise you for your grace. We praise you for your provision, for our salvation, Jesus. We praise you for doing what we could not do. We praise you for doing what we could not do. None of us, the best of us could not do. None of us can keep all of God’s rules and statutes and laws.
We have all rebelled against you, oh God. And Jesus alone, perfectly obeys, perfectly fulfills your law. We praise you, Jesus, as the sinless perfect son of God, who chose to pay the price for our sins on the cross, and rose from the dead in victory over sin and the grave, ascended into heaven and sent your spirit down into our lives.
As we trust in you, as we look to you, place our faith in you, you’ve put your spirit in us. And so with your spirit in us, we pray today. Lead us, guide us, direct us, enable us, empower us, help us by your spirit to live the full abundant life you’ve called and created us to live.
We just confess today in a fresh way. We can’t experience that kind of life on our own. We need you, your spirit in us to empower us to live the abundant life you’ve called us to.
So help us to walk in your statutes today. Help us to keep your rules today. Help us to obey your good laws today by the power of your spirit in us.
Make us spiritual people who are led by the spirit of God, guided by the spirit of God, comforted by the spirit of God, directed by the spirit of God. Spirit of God, have your way in our lives today. We need you.
And in John 15:5, where we say, we can do nothing without you, Jesus, without your spirit leading us. So lead us with the heart and spirit you’ve given to us for our good and for your glory. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.