Scripture Text: Ezekiel 39:25-27
Question of the Day: Will the wickedness and treachery in our hearts ever be totally gone?
“Treachery”! The word itself causes us to shrink back. Israel was accused of treachery by the Old Testament Prophets when they turned away from God after He had showed them great mercy and blessing for centuries. Even the most devout Christian will confess that there are areas of their lives where sin still bothers them, brings chastisement from God, and hinders the blessing of God flowing in and through them. The more one reads the Scriptures, the more they have unveiled to them things that are offensive to God and that grieve His heart and His Holy Spirit. So when will these “treacherous evils” finally be forever put away from our hearts?
In today’s text we come to the aftermath and the effects of the Battle of Gog and Magog when God deals with His children in a time known as “Jacob’s Trouble”. Gog and Magog’s vast armies had swooped down on a defenseless and quiet land to plunder it, and ended up being totally destroyed and decimated by the hand of God. The world looked on. Israel sat in amazement as the LORD God of the universe came to their rescue. Now what would happen? Here is today’s text: “So here is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against Me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated My holiness in the sight of many nations.” (ESV Pronouns referring to God capitalized to clarify meaning)
When the Lord GOD restores their fortunes and demonstrates to Israel that He is the LORD their God by showing mercy on the whole nation of Israel, then from that time on He will be zealous for His Holy name. What is fascinating about these words is that they are to be fulfilled before the Battle of Armageddon. By that time so many of them will be wiped out, the only ones left will be saved and turn back to Him. What is the focus of our time today is this: it is at that time, when His restoration and mercy will be so complete and the treachery that they have practiced against Him and the shame that they have withstood for centuries will be so in their past that “they will be forgotten”! Can you envision how the reproach, the shame, the hiding of God’s face from them, and the death that millions of their forefathers endured will be so far behind them they will forget that it ever happened to them?
Let’s bring that down to us today: as we look at the treachery of our own hearts the wickedness and filth that keeps coming up, can you imagine how God’s plan for all of us for salvation and sanctification is so complete that we finally forget these days in which we now live? You see, when we get to the place where we are in heaven in the presence of God forever, it will be so overwhelmingly glorious and we will have been so thoroughly cleaned up we will forget the pain, the misery, the sin, and the treachery that now plagues our lives. What will ultimately win out is not the wickedness and sin in our hearts, but instead the love and mercy and grace of our Lord. Hallelujah!
Prayer: O God, we know that Your plan is complete and perfect and that through the death of Your Son on the cross for our sins, we can be and will eventually be totally cleaned up (sanctified). Right now You have determined that we stay in this sinful world and learn to live with the promise that You will complete what You started through Your Son, Jesus Christ, and that takes more and more faith. We long to forget, but for now we wait for the treacherous hold that sin can place on our lives to be broken—forever! Amen!
David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.