Commentary by Walter Albritton


November 24


Look to the Future with Confidence in God

Read Ezekiel 36 & 37

Key Verse: Ezekiel 36:26


            Our study of the Old Testament helps us to understand the true nature of God. Even though his own people break the covenant repeatedly, God refuses to give up on his children.

            God pours out his blessings upon the people. They ignore God. He punishes them for their disobedience.

            Their wickedness profanes the very name of God. That is unacceptable to God. So he sanctifies his name, making sure that pagans as well as the people of Israel understand that the Lord, He is God.

            He does this by crushing Babylon, returning the exiles to their homeland, and offering them a future characterized by “a new heart.” God does this not for the sake of the captives but for the sake of his own name.

 Despite their stubborn, rebellious spirit, God is willing to forgive them, cleanse them, and give them a future. This then is the nature of the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  What a God!

            In the New Testament, we see Jesus repeatedly offering forgiveness to sinners. He shows no interest in their past. His concern is their future, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! No wonder Jesus said, “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father”!

            Only rarely do we glimpse this attitude in fellow human beings. When we do, it is beautiful. Take, for example, the mother of a teen-aged girl who was arrested and jailed for using drugs.

            The mother refused to upbraid her daughter for her behavior. Instead, the next day she gave the girl a gift. Opening the small box, the girl found a small stone wrapped in tissue paper.

            Feeling insulted, the rebellious girl angrily asked why her mother was giving her “a stupid rock.” Calmly, the mother replied, “That rock is a million years old; that is how long it will take for me to give up on you.”

            Weeping, and broken by her mother’s forgiving love, the girl fell into her mother’s arms. Her restoration had begun. She had a future made possible by the grace of one who loved her dearly.

            A truck driver fell asleep and hit a car head-on in the other lane, killing the young mother who was driving. The man admitted that he was at fault and asked the woman’s family to forgive him.

            The judge planned to sentence the truck driver to a prison term for manslaughter. But the dead woman’s husband and her parents asked the judge not to send him to prison.

            They said that the accident had robbed the woman’s children of their mother, but they did not want the truck driver’s children to be robbed of their father. They asked the judge to have mercy on the man.

            The judge had mercy, and sentenced the truck driver to probation for five years. What a witness this family made in court that day. Surely, their act of mercy was possible only because they had allowed the Lord God to give them “a new heart.”

            Throughout all the ages, God’s offer remains good: All who turn to him in repentance and true faith may receive a new heart when he puts his Spirit within them.

Then, and only then, will they be able to “walk in his statutes” and find delight in doing his will. + + +