And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:27
When this was written, Ezekiel was living in Babylon. In this passage, God made it clear that Israel’s stubborn disobedience, as they followed other gods, was not acceptable. A holy God cannot tolerate sin. Sin’s just compensation is death. But, God’s mercy would bring Israel back. God promised to restore them in repentance. He promised to make them new, and to change their hearts of stone into tender hearts of flesh. He promised to cleanse them from their idols, and to bring them back to the land he promised them.
We, too, have hearts of stone. Our hearts are stubborn, unteachable, not tender toward God’s desires and commands. Disobedience may be an obvious outward opposition to God’s law, like lying or stealing. But often, disobedience goes deeper than that. Often, we obey the letter of the law but miss the intent behind the law. “Do not murder.” That sounds easy on the surface, until Jesus says in Matthew 5 that whoever is angry with his brother has committed murder in his heart. Even when we constrain our actions, our hearts still run rampant in wickedness. The intent behind the law, that we should love one another, is violated when we harbor anger in our hearts. This applies to so much more than just anger, and we tend to scrape by, following the letter of the law, instead of loving God with everything in us and desiring to follow God’s ways.
We need hearts of flesh that desire to follow God’s ways both in spirit and in deed. But how can dead, hard, hearts be made tender and soft? No amount of water softens a rock. We need totally new hearts, and God must work the transformation. At that point, a person goes from dead to alive.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!
References: Ezekiel 36:22-27, Romans 6:23, Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21-26, Matthew 22:34-40
Just a few projects. I’m getting close to wrapping up the floral Christmas painting (then will be on to scanning and layout for fabric, I hope). Then, I took an afternoon and played a bit with carving a dahlia stamp. You can see the pencil on the left and the stamped design on the right. And, the last picture is something new I tried…stars. I learned a lot, and next time I have a few ideas to make the stars (and letters) stand out a bit more.
Thanks for stopping by!