Jesus, Thanks for the opportunity to read this blog today and meditate on your Word! I open my ears to You and step by faith into the arena of Your grace where I listen with an undivided heart! Amen The Scripture reading for today is Ezekiel 11:16-21, 16 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
I love the promise of a new heart that God makes through Ezekiel. He says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new Spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh!” The sense is that a “divided heart of stone” was the default for the people and it took a mighty act of God to remove that “default heart” and give a new heart that is focused, has singular allegiance, tender, pliable, teachable, living – a heart of flesh. But the default heart for humanity is a “divided” heart that shares its allegiance around – all kinds of gods get some of it – it probably is a very busy, tired, exhausted, lack of peace, overly entertained, love starved kind of heart. A divided heart is in some sense “hell” to live with. God warns, in verse 21, those who would reject His offer of a “new heart”- those who remain divided in their allegiance to “detestable idols” – it doesn’t look pretty!
When I contemplate these verses in light of last Sunday’s message about Jesus and the way He used parables, I am inspired once again by the pursuing love of God. He says He spoke in parables because, “this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (Matthew 13) Sometimes (most of the time) I don’t want to admit that the “default mode” for my heart is “divided and hard”. But if I am honest with myself I can see it every day. My natural drift is toward worry, anxiety, fear, criticism, gossip, entertainment as anesthesia, selfishness, hard heartedness, self indulgence etc. – these are all signs of a divided heart – one that is hardening into stone. BUT – that heart and that “default mode” does not have to be the last word on my day or my life. God has broken through in this world and in my life and given me a new undivided heart through Jesus. He has paid dearly and in full for my new heart that I get to live from every day – I get to adventure into everyday with a “fleshy, fully alive undivided heart” that I access by faith every day! That is what He promised Ezekiel and that promise can be fulfilled in your life and mine everyday! That is exciting – we have new software – we don’t have to live in default mode- Jesus makes that possible!
I want to close with a few sentences of a pray I try to pray every day to practically access life from my new God-given heart.
My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You now to be restored in You to be renewed in You to receive Your Love and Your life and all the grace and mercy I so desperately need this day. I honor You as my sovereign and I surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to You. I give You might spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will and I ask Your Holy Spirit to restore me in you and renew me in you and lead me today. Amen