“When I gather … Israel”
The finally two verses of our reading of Ezekiel 28 today fit the scene in and around Israel fairly accurately so that we are inclined to apply it to the circumstances we have witnessed in the Middle East in recent years. Yet such is the nature of many parts of the prophecies that appear to relate to the latter days, some specifically stating they do, that we hesitate to be too dogmatic here.
“And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbours who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD. Thus says the Lord GOD:
When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbours who have treated them with contempt”.
And then the chapter ends with,
“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God”.
How close are we to that happening? It surely needs the return of Christ! How soon?
“No one knows the hour or the day” (Mark 13:32).
Jesus did not even know; at least, did not know during his first coming.
Looking back at that verse 25, we see today how all the neighbouring countries, for nearly seventy years, have tried to treat regathered Israel with contempt – and have failed.
In a sense judgments have been executed upon their neighbours, all except Jordan have experienced civil wars, and to some extent, still do, within their borders. Even Jordan is perplexed by the avalanche of refugees from Syria and the endless existence of Palestinian Camps.
The song / prayer of Psalm 83 seems so appropriate. May the day soon come when God acts to
“fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name O LORD … that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth” (verses 16,18).
But what of ourselves, we are not just spectators of the behaviour of today’s godless nations! May we all make verse 20 of our reading today in Galatians 2 the focus of thought for the rest of our lives, for truly, we can say with Paul, if we are committed to Christ,
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me …”