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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 36

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-38

Shall we turn in our Bibles now to Ezekiel 36:0 as we continue our study in this very fascinating prophecy.

In chapter 36 Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Now this is the second time he prophesied to the mountains of Israel. The first time was back in chapter 6, and he was prophesying the desolations that would come to the mountains of Israel and to the cities because they had built the high places on the mountains and worshipped the false images, idols, and gods. And thus he spoke about the mountains being made desolate. That prophecy was fulfilled and the mountains of Israel remained desolate for nineteen centuries. Now again he prophesies to the mountains of Israel, but this prophecy has to do with a work of God in making now the desolate mountains inhabited. And so there is quite a contrast between this prophecy in chapter 36 and the prophecy in chapter 6 where the desolation of the mountains was described and now the restoration from the desolation.

Say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and they have swallowed you up on every side, that you might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are the infamy of the people: Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains and to the hills, and to the rivers and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, against all of Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, say to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because you have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up my hand, Surely the heathen that are round about you, shall bear their shame. But ye, O mountains ( Ezekiel 36:2-8 )

It took him quite a while to get to the message to the mountains, but he finally made it.

But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all of the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginning: and ye shall know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 36:8-11 ).

And so the restoration of the nation Israel is here being prophesied. And if you go over to Israel today, surely you can see the fulfillment of these prophecies as the waste places are now inhabited. As they have built so many cities, as they have planted so many beautiful orchards and cultivated the fields, and this land that laid wasted and desolate for many centuries has now been reclaimed. The marshy valleys have been drained and have become very fertile, fruitful fields. And so, it's exciting to take this thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel in your lap and go over to Israel and see how God has fulfilled this particular prophecy concerning the mountains of Israel.

Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; they shall possess thee, thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave the nations any more, saith the Lord GOD. Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land ( Ezekiel 36:12-17 ),

And now God is telling the reason why the land became desolate for so long.

they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. Wherefore I poured out my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of the land. But I had pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went ( Ezekiel 36:17-22 ).

Now the Lord is telling the reason why the dispersion took place and they were scattered is because of the blood that they had shed in the land, because of their worship of idols, and God had scattered them into the many different countries. But God said when they were scattered they profaned God's name. That is, because of their actions and attitudes they caused people to hate and curse God. They said, "Oh, these are the people of God and look at what they are doing."

And so, you remember when David sinned with Bathsheba, when the prophet rebuked David for this sin, one of the indictments that the prophet made against him is he said, "You have caused the enemies of God to blaspheme." You see, these people were to be God's representatives. God intended that they represent Him. But they misrepresented Him. And thus, people were cursing God because of their actions. You say, "Oh, that's terrible." But wait a minute. You are now God's representatives. You see, you go by the name of a Christian and as a Christian you represent God. But if you're out there ripping off people or cheating people or you're out there lying or deceiving or getting involved in these kind of things, then you are misrepresenting God and people are cursing God and blaspheming God because of what you are. You see, God has been so misrepresented by those people who were called by His name. All the way through people have a false concept of God because people supposedly representing God have so misrepresented God that people say, "Well, if they're a Christian then I don't want anything to do with it. I don't need it." It is an awesome thing to realize that we are God's representatives and people are drawing their opinions of God from what they see in us.

Now as a representative of God, God holds me responsible for how I represent Him. God doesn't appreciate being misrepresented. As Moses found out. For when Moses went out before the people angry and struck the rock with his rod and said, "Must I strike this rock again and give you water?" Though the water came, God said, "Moses, I want to talk to you. Moses, I can't let you go into the Promise Land." "Why, Lord? That's been the ambition of my life." "Moses, you failed to represent Me before the people. You misrepresented Me out there. You went out there all angry in a huff, smiting the rock in anger. I'm not angry with them, Moses. They think I am because of what you did. They think I'm upset with them and angry. I'm not upset and angry with them, Moses. I know they need water. I want to give them water. But they think I'm angry and upset because you're My representative and you went out there in a huff and did your little thing. And so, Moses, I just can't let you take the people into the land." And Moses was robbed of his lifelong ambition because he failed to represent God there at the water of Meribah.

Now you are God's representative and that's a heavy responsibility to be God's representative, but that's what we are. And the people are drawing their conclusion of Christianity, of Jesus Christ, from what they see you do. That's heavy. God help us that we will be proper representatives of our Lord. That people will come to know that He is so loving, that He is so kind, that He wants to help, that He will go out of His way to help. And let us, O God, be a true representation of what You are to the world around us who so desperately need to know the truth about God.

Paul writing to the Corinthians said, "You are my living epistle, and you are known and read of all men" ( 2 Corinthians 3:2 ). People may never pick up a Bible to crack its pages, they may never read the Bible, but they're reading your life. And they're drawing their opinions of Jesus Christ by what they see in you.

Now, God said when Israel was scattered into the nations, they profaned the name of the Lord. They caused people to hate God. They didn't represent God in those nations where they were scattered, and so people were cursing God and cursing the name of God. And so God now declares, "Look, not for your sake I'm going to bring you back. Not because you're so good or you're deserving, but for My name's sake I'm going to do it. My name that has been profaned among the heathen."

"And thus saith the Lord God," verse Ezekiel 36:22 , "I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake which you have profaned."

And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes ( Ezekiel 36:23 ).

So He refers to this time when He will be sanctified in them before the eyes of the world. We'll get to that when we get to chapter 38.

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all of your filthiness, from all of your idols, I will cleanse you. Also I'll give you a new heart, a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh ( Ezekiel 36:25-26 ).

Jeremiah prophesied the day was going to come when God would no longer write His law upon tables of stone but upon the fleshly tablets of our heart. God is saying, "I'm going to take out the stony heart. I'm going to put in a heart of flesh." That is, God will make His will known to us by planting in our heart His desires and His purposes. Now you know the glorious thing about serving the Lord and following the Lord that you find that this particular psalm is true. The Bible said, "Delight thyself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" ( Psalms 37:4 ). Well, what that psalm doesn't say, but what is also true, that as you begin to delight yourself in the Lord, the Lord begins to redirect the desires of your heart. According to that which He wants and according to that which He has purposed. So that doing the will of God becomes really the most glorious thing of your entire existence. It becomes the fulfillment of your dreams and of your desires. And it's marvelous.

Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, My burden is light" ( Matthew 11:30 ). We see people going around talking about, "Oh, God laid this heavy burden on me. I don't know if I'm going to be able to stand up under it." Wait a minute. If you've got a heavy burden that's pushing you down into the ground, you better take a close look at that burden. It didn't come from Him. He said, "My burden is light." We take upon ourselves, many times, things that the Lord didn't really put on us. Or we let men put things on us and pressure us into things that aren't really of God. I think of all of the poor people who have been pressured by their churches in pledges. Especially if they say, "Let's make a faith pledge." That's even worse, because there are many people who are straining under a sense of obligation to God because I made a pledge and they're straining and being pressed by it, and it's become a heavy yoke on them. A heavy burden. It's not of the Lord. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. Peter said, "Let's not put a heavy yoke on the people, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear." And yet the heavy yokes that men will put on you. But when the yoke gets hard and the burden is heavy, know that it's not the Lord's. It's something that you have taken on yourself, or you have allowed people to put on you, but not really from God.

God puts His desires now in our heart so that we can honestly say with Jesus, "I delight to do thy will, O Lord." I don't know how many times during the week I just kick back and just start praising the Lord and thanking the Lord for all that He's done for me. For the joy and blessedness of the life that I have. It's just overwhelming to me. The goodness and the blessing of God. And every once in a while I'll just go, "Oh no!" And if anybody's around, they say, "What's happening?" "Oh, I'm just thinking about how good God is. Unreal, beautiful, you know." My son said, "Dad, why don't you retire? You don't have to keep going sixteen hours a day. Why don't you retire? Kick back, Dad. Why don't you move to Hawaii and retire? You can do it." I said, "But what would I do?" I love so much doing what I'm doing. My wife gets after me because I want to come out here on my day off. She says, "You always figure out a way to go out there on your day off." But it's just such a joy, such a blessing. For God has written His law in my heart. It's just the delight and the joy of life to be doing that which God has in mind for you to do. No heavy burden, no big strain. It's a delight; it's a joy.

And so God says, "I will write. I will give them a new heart, a heart of flesh. Take away that heart of stone."

And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them ( Ezekiel 36:27 ).

Why? Because God's Spirit is in me. That power of His Spirit to do His statutes, to keep His judgments.

And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I also will save you from all of your uncleanness: I will call for the corn, I will increase it, I won't lay any famine upon you. I will multiply the fruit of the tree, increase the field, and ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD ( Ezekiel 36:28-32 ),

Not because you're so deserving or you're so good, but it's just God's grace.

be it known unto you: be ashamed and be confounded for what you have done, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I also will cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden ( Ezekiel 36:32-35 );

Oh, the Sharon valley, the Sharon plain, the valley of Megiddo, waste desolate marshland, they're like the Garden of Eden, so lush and so beautiful. This prophecy is fulfilled. You can go over and just travel around Israel and see how verdant and productive that little land is.

the ruined cities have become fenced, and inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that which was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it ( Ezekiel 36:35-36 ).

Well, you can't get much stronger than that. And He did, He's done it.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them as men like a flock. As the holy flock, and as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 36:37-38 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 36". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ezekiel-36.html. 2014.
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