“And I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
The people of God had walked away from God’s ways and word and were captive in Babylon. Depressed, oppressed and cast down; all seemed lost. They were alone, outsiders in the land of the lost and godless.
Yes, they deserved the affliction and judgment. The prophet Ezekiel laid out God’s just case against them for their response to His goodness and loving kindness. The prophet compared God’s people to that of a woman declared unclean:
“When the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.” (Eze 36:17)
Israel the “wife” of God was unclean and he withdrew from them and put them out of his house. Sin had broken their bond with God. God is not just a righteous God but He is also a God of mercy and grace:
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psa 145:8-9)
God, just in His judgment of His people, also said to them:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Eze 36:26-27)
The people of God had turned their hearts in to “stony hearts.” It is interesting that we can turn our hearts into “stony hearts” but only God can give you a heart of flesh. How does one turn a heart of “flesh” into a “stony heart?” We find the answer to this question with these words:
“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart, and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb 3:8-12)
The process of turning your heart of “flesh” into a “stony heart” is given step by step in the verse above:
1. They “tempted” and “proved” God. Tempted is understood as to scrutinize, essay or prove. People who scrutinize and seek to have God prove His rightful role as the God of creation will turn their hearts stony.
2. They, having seen the hand of God at work, reject God’s power and authority in their lives.
3. They reject God’s authority and now have a change of heart of who and what God means to them.
4. They establish a life of “err” or sin in their “heart” or their spirit.
5. They now have an “evil heart of unbelief” and “depart” from God’s word and authority.
How is your heart? Is it on the “stony” side of hardness? Do you see your life somewhere on the slippery slide of slipping away from God’s word? If so, I have some good news for you! You can have a new heart with just one prayer.
The scripture makes this truth clear:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 Jn 1:9)
Just as God promised the Children of Israel that He would restore their righteousness:
“I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” God makes this promise to you, “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9)
Today you can have your hardening heart softened, your sins forgiven and your righteousness restored if you, in faith, will call out for forgiveness in the name of Jesus.
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