From Lynda Lindsey
“Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” ’ Ezekiel 33:10
But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. Ezekiel 36:8-10
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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ezekiel, watchman over God’s people in Babylon, turns from issuing grim warnings of impending judgment and begins offering hope and encouragement to the exiles; and hope and encouragement were in short supply. The exiles, with time on their hands to reflect on past sins and failures, were discouraged and disheartened. It was, after all, their own deliberate choice to ignore God’s warnings that brought such devastating consequences. Sin’s natural consequence? We are weighed down; we waste away. We don’t flourish. We don’t prosper or thrive. We become like a stunted vine. God’s desire, however, is that His people repent and choose life, change and live.
A homecoming dance or game provides an opportunity for former members of a particular group to be united again. God promised a homecoming for His repentant people, a homecoming of all homecomings! God, always filled with the highest concern for His creation, would look on the land and the people, with favor. The land, defiled, made barren and lifeless by the people’s sin, would be revived and resettled, once again becoming productive and fruitful. Restoration and rebuilding would commence, life would be renewed and relationship with God would be restored. God’s land and God’s people would once again prosper, made possible only by God granting His people forgiveness, washing away their sins, and giving them a new heart and a new spirit.
Homecomings usually include much storytelling and reminiscing. Imagine the stories, the memories revisited, the praises that issued heavenward as God’s people once again were made prosperous in the Lord and began to thrive spiritually. They knew intimately and deeply that the Lord, He is God. But, like us today, they had to bridge the now and the not yet. God’s promised homecoming was yet future. God’s promise to come again is yet future. We, just as they did, must live in hope, fixing our eyes not on what is seen, but on the unseen. Look forward to a glorious homecoming. Flourish, thrive, prosper, and wait in hope. Repent, choose life; change and live!