Ezekiel 36:16-38 ( A Kindergarten Math Lesson)

Scripture references;

16 Again the word of the LORD came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight. 18 So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. 20 And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the LORD’s people, and yet they had to leave his land.’ 21 I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, 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. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

24 ” ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 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. 26 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. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!

33 ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’

37 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, 38 as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”


I mentioned in at least one of my entries that I homeschooled my kids.  I can still remember teaching kindergarten math to my daughter. There were two concepts that were awfully important. They were “cardinal numbers” and “ordinal numbers”. Cardinal numbers (or cardinals) are numbers that say how many of something there are, such as one, two, three, four, five.. Ordinal numbers tell the position of numbers in a list, 1st, 2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th etc.

The Lord knows these concepts, too.  He knows who His sheep are and how many He has. They may be too numerous for us to count, but the Lord is not only capable of counting them, but also is able to call them by name. The Lord understands ordinal numbers. He does things in an orderly way. He knows who will be first and who will be last.

There are a number of things that the Lord does in the above passage of scripture; the following things in particular are of interest to me. I see the Lord looking down at his people who have been unfaithful, His people to whom He had poured out His wrath, and for the sake of His holy name, He cleansed them from all their sins, removed their heart of stone,  gave them a heart of flesh, and put a new spirit in them. He increased the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field.

There are also a number of things that the Lord’s people did.  They remembered their evil ways, and wicked deeds. They also loathed themselves, and their sins, and their detestable practices.

There are a couple of things that have always intrigued me about that passage. One is the order of the acts that took place. The Lord acted 1st, and the people acted 2nd. The other is the reason for the Lord’s action on their behalf.  He acted for the sake of His holy name. He still works that way. Look at the last part of the “Lord’s Prayer”:  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6: 13).  Look at Hebrews 12:2:  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The Lord loves. The Lord is loving. 1 John 4:16 says that God is Love; that is just how loving He is. There are some passages in the Bible that mention God hating some things, but I have NEVER seen a verse that said “God is hate”. God is “love”.  God is loving…as loving as us?  No, and we better be glad. What is God like? Read the 13th chapter of  1Corinthians. Then look at this:  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”  (Romans11:33-36).  Now look at this:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).What adjectives do you see describing the Lord in that Corinthian passage, or in the rest of the Bible for that matter? You will see many, and every one of them is not only good, but so good that if you could compare them to the the adjectives we would use to describe what can be good in us, the ones that describe His goodness and capacity to be loving are “immeasurably” higher.  This also should make us both glad and thankful!

Does the Lord desire us to act? Yes. Does He tell us to confess our sins? Does He command us to repent? Absolutely. Does He  tell us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”?  Does He ask us to “seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near? He certainly does. But we must not forget that the Lord acts “first”, and He does “finish” what He starts! Philippians 2:12 is followed by Philippians 2:13.  Here they are combined:  “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Here is one more passage that I would like you to consider:

“What does the worker gain from his struggles?  10 I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied.  11 He has made everything appropriate  in its time.  He has also put eternity in their hearts,  but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.  12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the  good life. 13 It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts.  14 I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it.  God works so that people will be in awe of Him.  15 Whatever is, has already been,  and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.”  Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

Kindergarten math…something we still need to learn. When it comes to the Kingdom of God Jesus is both first and last.

Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?  Please click on “Very Important Words” on the left margin of this page and make sure.

Do you have a Bible? If you don’t have one, you need not worry. Just go to http://www.biblegateway.com. They have many versions and translations of the Bible that you can read. Some of the best things in life are free!


 

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5 Comments

  1. November 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Reblogged this on Moore to Ponder and commented:

    “Does the Lord desire us to act? Yes. Does He tell us to confess our sins? Does He command us to repent? Absolutely. Does He tell us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”? Does He ask us to “seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near? He certainly does. But we must not forget that the Lord acts “first”, and He does “finish” what He starts!”

  2. Debbie said,

    November 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

    You have blessed me so much, and given me ‘meat’ to think on, wonderful woman of the Word! That He acts first . .. loved first… and that He finishes what He starts. And that Jesus is the first and the last! Thank you so much for reblogging this, for our Jesus Math lesson today! ( and you said you weren’t good at math! 😉 )
    love and prayers and blessings too!
    deb

  3. Pastor Glenn said,

    December 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Well said Theresa! As a person with both a math degree and a theology degree, I found your title amusing (in the positive sense of course).

    I might add Paul’s prayer in Ephesians “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (3:17-19)

    As for the matter of god acting first, you know from our previous discussions that I totally agree. The Ephesians passage I quoted above is followed by these words: ” Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (v20) He works in us, for his glory.

    Thanks for sharing the truth.
    GG

    • December 5, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Pastor Glenn, thank you so much for the confirmation, and also for sharing that believers will be able to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that they may be filled with all the fullness of God.

      We might not be able to search out His ways but to comprehend His Love…to experience that is a privilege that I too often fail to appreciate. Now that truly is a something to ponder! It brings this verse to my mind:

      “1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.” Psalm 45:1-2

      Blessings,
      Theresa


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