If there is one thing that God’s relationship to Israel makes crystal clear, it’s that He is the one who restores. The people of Israel constantly run from God and rebel against His ways, yet He continues to bring them back, time and time again without fail. Ezekiel 39:25-29 makes this truth clear:
25 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”
I love this section for so many reasons.
1. God restores the fortunes of Israel simply because He is jealous for His name. In other words, God desires to make His name known through His compassion toward His people.
2. God’s kindness is so incredibly captivating that it actually makes Israel forget their own sins and failures as they dwell in the safety of His presence.
3. God’s holiness is displayed through the restoration of His rebellious people.
4. God’s punishment is not comprehensive, but His restoration is. He sent the people into exile because of their sin, but He will restore all of them because of HIS justice and righteousness.
5. God shines the light of His countenance (face) upon His people and pours out His Spirit into their hearts.
These are great and wonderful things to remember because they apply not only to Israel, but to us. Through Christ we have all of these things because through Christ, we are God’s people. We may rebel, but God restores and forgives and makes new.