And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. – Ezekiel 36:23
Scripture reading: Ezekiel 36:22-36
As Israel entered the promised land, God reminded the people of their calling to live differently from the world to be a blessing to the world. But Israel’s time in the land ended with failure. They chased after other gods, rebelled against God’s law and ended up in exile as a result. And when God sent Israel into exile, He was clear as to what the reason was: not only because of Israel’s idolatry, but because of Israel’s failure to be a faithful witness before the nations:
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came” (Ezekiel 36:22).
The exile was because Israel profaned God’s name “among the nations.” When God promised that Israel would be restored from exile, He said the reason was to restore Israel’s mission:
“Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36).
Even when Israel was in exile, God promised to restore Israel for the sake of the nations. That is the heart of God revealed, the heart of the God Who created and loves His world and would one day rescue it through His Son.
Suggestions for prayer
That the Spirit would enable us in Christ to be faithful where Israel was unfaithful, and that he would do so for the sake of the nations.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.