‘Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.’ Ezekiel 37:5–6
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:1–12
Israel is to have a spiritual restoration or a conversion. Both the text and the context teach this. The promise is that they shall renounce their idols, and, behold, they have already done so. ‘Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols’ (Ezekiel 37:23). Whatever faults the Jew may have besides, he certainly has no idolatry. ‘The Lord thy God is one God,’ is a truth far better conceived by the Jew than by any other man on earth except the Christian. Weaned for ever from the worship of all images, of whatever sort, the Jewish nation has now become infatuated with traditions or duped by philosophy. She is to have, however, instead of these delusions, a spiritual religion: she is to love her God. ‘They shall be my people, and I will be their God’ (verse 23). The unseen but omnipotent Jehovah is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth by his ancient people; they are to come before him in his own appointed way, accepting the Mediator whom their sires rejected; coming into covenant relation with God, for so the context tells us—‘I will make a covenant of peace with them’ (verse 26), and Jesus is our peace, therefore we gather that Jehovah shall enter into the covenant of grace with them, that covenant of which Christ is the federal head, the substance, and the surety. They are to walk in God’s ordinances and statutes, and so exhibit the practical effects of being united to Christ who has given them peace. All these promises certainly imply that the people of Israel are to be converted to God, and that this conversion is to be permanent.
For meditation: Do you find time in your theology and prayers for the Jews? Join the apostle Paul and pray (Romans 10:1) that more and more Jewish people will accept the new covenant which God has made, that he will be their God and that they will be his people (Hebrews 8:8,10).
Sermon no. 582
13 June (Preached 16 June 1864)