“A Fresh Start”
The prophet Ezekiel announced God’s judgment upon the nation of Israel in the sixth century as they lived in the clutches of captivity and exile. The pronouncements were written in approximately 571 B.C. and were directed to the Jews who lived in Babylonia. He was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah who delivered prophetic messages to the people of the covenant in Judah, while Ezekiel prophesied to those already exiled in captivity.
The prophecy begins with messages of doom and the promise of correction for God’s people in their sinful condition and rebellious ways (1:1-24:27) and continues with messages of moral judgment against nations that doubted the intention or ability of a divine intervention to save and redeem the people of the covenant. But they themselves would later learn of God’s ability to save by facing their own predicaments and learning how crucial it is to get help from the Lord (25:1-32:32).
After the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel prophesied a message of restoration and hope for the future (33:1-48:35). Through God’s holy standards and character, the people of faith can now experience a fresh start on their spiritual journey. The past was covered by the forgiving love of God, so they now stood with wonderful possibilities for personal, national, and relational deliverance. A significant aspect of the return to the priorities of covenant life was the restoration of worship at the center of their national life and their personal faith walk. But the fulfillment of these prophecies will be ushered in through the rule of the Messiah who will offer perfect fellowship with God and one another. When we focus our attention on Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and commit ourselves to worship in spirit and truth we will experience a fresh start.
Pastor Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr.