Ezekiel 43-45

Reset, Repentance, Rehab, Restoration

Back in Chapters 10&11 we saw the Glory of the Lord depart from the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Today Ezekiel, in Chapter 44, is given a vision of the Glory of the Lord returning. The people had rebelled against God and gone their own way. The Lord had been protecting them but they were blind to it. That blindness just led to presumption on God and more rebellion. When, finally, the Glory of the Lord departs, His hand of protection is removed and they are on their own. They have chosen to trust in the ways of the world and so they will experience where those ways really lead.  In short, they are about to crash and hit bottom.

I think most of us know that we have done things wrong that we have gotten away with. Somehow we were not caught. For some, there is a guilty feeling that tells us we need to stop and change what we are doing. For others, the thinking is that they can keep getting away with it so they keep going with the destructive behavior. This results in being constantly miserable and hopeless. Addictions also fall into this category.

Israel went through a long spiral downard. They fell so low that they lost everything including their nation and were taken as exiles to other nations. They hit bottom and stayed there for a long time. I have seen this happen to people and I suspect you have as well.

It is at the bottom that we start to listen and look for a solution. When the Glory of the Lord departed the Glory did not go far away. The Glory of the Lord rested on a mountain just outside the city. God was close and God was waiting for the people who rejected Him to call to Him. As a remnant of the people begin to seek the Lord and listen to Him, God starts to bring restoration. In previous chapters we have read of God promising to give new life to the nation that was as good as dead, and demonstrating that He, and He alone, can save them from the enemy of the world around them.

I don’t care if we call it a reset, repentance, or going through rehab, nothing changes until something changes. In this case we must leave behind the old thinking that caused the Glory of the Lord to depart and start listening and seeking the Lord.

When the Glory of the Lord returned the first thing that needed to be built was the Altar. The Altar is the place of prayer and sacrifice. If there is going to truly be restoration that will last we need to rebuild our connection with God and sacrifice the old ways. The first sacrifice on the Altar was for the cleansing and dedication of the Altar. No half-hearted or one and done attempt at restoration will do. We must be serious and willing to obey the Lord.  When we go to prayer we need to come humbly with a not my will, but thy will be done attitude.

Along with this comes circumcision. We must cut off the flesh of the world beginning with the heart. No longer can we set our heart on the things of the world. Our heart must be emptied so God can fill it. A circumcised heart will be reflected by circumcised ears and tongue. What we listen to and what we say will and must change. We can’t be filled with the Glory of God unless we listen to God. What we talk about and the language we use declares what is truly in our heart. Chapter 44

As we continue on we see that Levites are limited in what they can do because they were corrupted by idol worship. We also, who have been corrupted by the ways of the world that caused us to crash and hit bottom, will find that there are things we can no longer do. I have seen many recovering alcoholic take a drink and fall right back into the old pattern as if he had never had recovery. The same is true for dieting. Unless something is changed on the inside the old ways and habits return. That leads us to Chapter 45.

 In Chapter 45 we read of new boundaries.

The pride of thinking everything depended on us, or everything we have we got ourselves must also change. We must break the yoke the world has put on us and sacrifice it on the altar. This could include old habits, resentments, injustices we have experienced whether real, imagined, or lies we have made up for sympathy and survival that we have come to believe. We have really hit bottom when we believe our own lies. Instead, we must yoke with our Lord Jesus. Matthew 11:28-30  

 When we yoke with the Lord He will lead us in honesty and truth. John 8:31&32

Healthy boundaries are a must if we are to succeed in restoration. It is important that these boundaries include hanging out with the Lord. Yoking with the Lord means just that. Being connected to Him, relating and listening to Him and acting accordingly.

 We need boundaries in life and in the center of those boundaries must be the Glory of the Lord. As we read previously, our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether we call it reset, repentance, or rehab, if we want our life and sanity to be restored we must let the Holy Spirit set up His throne in our heart. It is not the label we apply that matters it is what we do! As we surrender, submit, obey, true restoration begins. John 7:37-39

 Need Restoration? Invite the Glory of God into your heart!

Pastor Dave