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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Ezekiel 36

 

 

Verses 16-38

Ezekiel 36:16-19. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, 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 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.

When God comes forth to deal with men according to their deserts, there will always be times of dire distress. The land of Israel was made into a wilderness; the habitations of men were burnt by fire, the inhabitants fell by the sword, or they were carried away captive, and untold miseries became the lot of God’s revolting people.

Ezekiel 36:20. 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 his land.

For the heathen did not remember the sin of Israel; they only saw that they had been cast out of their land by their God, so they blamed Jehovah, and not his guilty people. Thus, God’s holy name was doubly profaned.

Ezekiel 36:21. But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

If the Lord could see no ground of mercy in them, yet, so full of mercy is he, that he would find a reason for exercising pity for his own name’s sake. If lovingkindness cannot come to them by any other means, then it shall come for God’s name’s sake.

Ezekiel 36:22-24. 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 mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 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. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

He says that he will do this for his holy name’s sake. If the heathen profaned that name because they saw Israel scattered, they should be made to eat their own words when God gathered Israel again to their own land.

Ezekiel 36:25-26. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and 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 an heart of flesh.

What grand language this is! How different it is from the stern commands of the law! The law says, “Make your hearts clean; put away the evil of your doings;” but the gospel covenant of grace says, “A new heart also will I give you, and I will cleanse you from all your iniquities.”

Ezekiel 36:27-30. 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. 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 will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.

What splendor of love is this to a people who, mind you, had done nothing whatever to deserve it,—who were just as undeserving as in the day when the Lord smote them, and scattered them among the heathen! For no reason whatever but his own free grace, and for the glory of his holy name would God do these extraordinary deeds of love. What a wondrous God he is! Rightly do we sing,—

“Who is a pardoning God like thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?”

Ezekiel 36:31-32. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe ourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations, Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

There was nothing for them to boast of in all the mercies they received. No merit of their own had brought them back the corn and oil; it was all of God’s infinite sovereign grace because he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion. How royally he talks—like such a King as he is—the Sovereign Lord of all!

Ezekiel 36:33-35. Thus saith the Lord GOD In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities if will also 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; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

As much as they noticed before the chastising hand of God, so much shall even the heathen be compelled to perceive the great goodness of God in restoring the land to all its former glory.

Ezekiel 36:36-37. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;—

The blessing shall come, but not without prayer for it,—not without a hopeful expectancy of it,—not without a faithful belief in it: “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;”—

Ezekiel 36:37-38. I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts;

Like the multitudes of lambs that were brought up to Jerusalem at the time of the passover, such should be the number of the chosen people once again.

Ezekiel 36:38. So shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

The result of all this wondrous mercy was to be, that they were to be ashamed of their former sins, and loathe their past iniquities, and so know the Lord as to turn from their evil ways, and live unto him.


Verses 21-38

The prophet had been bringing many heavy charges against God’s people, had been thundering out the most tremendous threatenings against them. God was angry with them on account of sin. The chapter is full of dreadful utterances, enough to make one tremble as he reads them. And on a sudden the note altogether changes, and the prophet of thunder becomes the prophet of consolation. Free grace follows like a clear shining after the rain.

Ezekiel 36:21-28. But I had pity for mine 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 mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 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. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Here, indeed, is matchless grace that these very people who for their sins were banished from their land, and who in their exile added to their sin by the way in which they blasphemed God — those very people are to be brought back, and the mercy of God is so to be displayed in them that, in the very people who blasphemed God’s name, God shall be held in honour.

Ezekiel 36:25-26. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and 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 an heart of flesh.

Now notice that all this was spoken to persons who had no desire for these blessings. If they had had a desire for them, their hearts could not be considered to be stony, but they were set against God; they were his enemies; and yet he makes this solemn declaration in the sovereignty of his grace that he will give them a new heart and a right spirit. There may be some in this house tonight, and I pray there may, who are strangers to the God of Israel, who, if they know aught concerning his Son only know enough to oppose him. May God’s eternal omnipotence work in them mightily that a new heart and a right spirit may be given them tonight according to that ancient word, “I am found of them that sought me not.” He can come and make them a people that were not a people. Oh! that his grace would do so now.

Ezekiel 36:27. And I will put my spirit within you,

Not only a new spirit, but my Spirit. God himself shall come and dwell in those hearts which once were a receptacle for the devil.

Ezekiel 36:27-28. And cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 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.

He who talks in this sovereign way is God himself. He first made the world as he pleased, and in the second new creation he doeth as he will, having power over us as the potter has over his clay. This is promised to the Jewish people, but it is also fulfilled in multitudes of others where God in the same sovereign way works out the purposes of his love.

Ezekiel 36:29. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

Temporal mercies shall follow where spiritual mercies are given.

Ezekiel 36:30-36. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that 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, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord GOD In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also 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; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.

Prayer will always go with the divine working. Where God means to save, he sets men praying. Those who are saved intercede for others, and others who as yet are unsaved feel the need of the blessing and begin to cry for it, and the blessing comes. As the black cloud forebodes the shower, so doth the gathering spirit of prayer always foretoken the coming blessing. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the memorial of Jehovah always is “The God that heareth prayer.” He is the God whose arm is always moved by the prayer of man. Did not Moses stand between them and vengeance, so that God said, “Let me alone,” as if he had said, “I cannot destroy them while you pray”? Did not Elijah open and shut the windows of heaven by his prayer? Nothing is impossible to those who know how believingly to inquire of God.

Ezekiel 36:37. Thus saith the Lord GOD I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.

Take up this promise, members of this Church, and urge it before God that he would give us not few additions, but many, very many. “I will increase them with men like a flock.”

Ezekiel 36:38. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts;

When a great number of lambs would be brought up to Jerusalem for them to keep the Passover with, a great and countless company. Oh! that such additions may be given to the Church!

Ezekiel 36:38. So shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 50:14-23; Ezekiel 36:21-38.


Verses 25-32

Ezekiel 36:25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

“You would not cleanse yourselves; you even went back to your idols again, and so defiled yourselves still more; but I will cleanse you. I have a wondrous stream, such as no river or spring on earth can ever produce. It wells up from the heart of Jesus; and this shall cleanse you from all your filthiness, and from all your idols.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27. A new heart also will I give you, and 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 an heart of flesh. 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.

The old covenant told us what to do, and commanded us to do it; but the new covenant enables us to do it; yea, it works in us that obedience which we never could have rendered to the old law, but which the new covenant gives to us.

Ezekiel 36:28-31. 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 will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that 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 loath yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

How sweetly the mercy of God melts the human heart! How graciously the goodness of God produces repentance! That blessed result was never produced by the terrors of the law; but it is continually being brought forth by the lovingkindness of the Lord as manifested in the covenant of his grace.

Ezekiel 36:32. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the LORD GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

The covenant is all of grace, you see; mercy is shown to the unworthy,- not for their own sakes, but for God’s own glory’s sake. Oh, how sweet it is to have a share in this blessed covenant! Now turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 8th chapter, and 7th verse, where you have still more concerning the new covenant.

This exposition consisted of readings from Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-32; and EBREWS 8:7-13

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ezekiel 36:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/ezekiel-36.html. 2011.

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