And I will purge you of those who rebel and transgress against Me. I will bring them out of the land in which they dwell, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
I. GOD'S RULE IS DIRECTED SOLELY FOR MAN'S PURITY. Such is his own holiness of nature, that he cannot tolerate impurity of any kind in his kingdom. Or, if he does tolerate it for a season, it is only for the purpose of more effectually purifying his saints. To distribute his own happiness, he created men; but that happiness can only reach perfection when it is rooted in purity. Purity or perdition is the only alternative under the sceptre of Jehovah.
II. THE PLACE APPOINTED FOR THE TEST. "I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I plead with you face to face." Already this had been done in the wilderness of Sinai, and now it shall be done again. This wilderness is not Babylon, nor the desert between Babylon and Judaea. It denotes the isolated condition of the people, when they should be scattered among all the nations. A desert is the outward emblem of man's desolation through sin. Iniquity has made a desert in his heart, in his home, in the nation - a desert in all his surroundings. There, under a sense of his folly and misfortune, God condescends to plead with men.
III. A WINNOWING PROCESS IS TO BE PURSUED. "I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me." If the nation, following its lower passions and following foolish kings, refuse God's salvation, God will deal with them individually. As a nation they shall be destroyed; but an election shall be saved. God will appear as a Thresher, and will purge his floor, and separate the chaff from the wheat. Would that the entire nation had yielded to his righteous rule! Yet, if the majority reject his grace, a minority will accept it. Not a single penitent shall be swept away with the rebellious. Divine wisdom can and will discriminate.
IV. THE OBDURATE SHALL BE ABANDONED. "Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me." Lightly as men may esteem the severity of such a sentence, it is the most crushing doom that can befall them - to be given over to the indulgence of their vices. For God to withdraw the restraints of his grace, and allow them the liberty they crave, would be the heaviest scourge, the beginning of perdition. Said God of Ephraim, "He is joined to his idols: let him alone!" Of some it is declared by Jesus the Christ, "He is guilty of eternal sin."
V. THE PENITENT SHALL RISE TO EMINENT PIETY. (See vers. 40 and 41.) They shall worship again in the consecrated mount. Their offerings shall be spontaneous and abundant. Their gifts and sacrifices shall send a sweet savour Godward. Best of all, they shall find acceptance with God. The Most High will be honoured in their midst. His presence will be felt as a purifying power. "I will be sanctified in you." The remembrance of their past ways and past experiences shall open their eyes to the foulness and loathsomeness of sin. Their inmost tastes and affections shall be refined. Self-condemnation is an essential element in repentance.
VI. THE RESULT WILL BE LARGER ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD. "Ye shall know that I am the Lord." The manifestation of God's patience, condescension, and tender love will enlarge their conception of God. He will gain a larger place in their esteem and confidence. His true glory will come forth. In this way even human sin will contribute to human elevation; man's guilt will promote God's glory. In the widest sense, "all things shall work together for good." The darkest disaster will serve as a setting for the jewels of God's goodness. - D.
I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.
I. The MEANING OF BRINGING MEN INTO THE BOND OF THE COVENANT.
1. If we take the passage as referring to the work of grace, it signifies that they shall know under what covenant they stand. Oh, the blessedness of being under such a sure covenant! This is what is aimed at, that God may bring His own from under the law, and place them under the covenant of grace. Though as yet they care nothing about it, He will bring them to know and realise that they are standing in the covenant of grace, with Christ as their Covenant-Head.
2. They shall be led to see how this covenant binds them to God. O mighty grace, thou dost hold us with the cords of a man from which we never desire to escape. We are the Lord's people, and He is our God. He holds us, and we hold to Him.
3. To come under the bond of the covenant means also to come under the discipline of the covenant; for they that are in gracious covenant with God will find that He dealeth with them as with sons, and, inasmuch as He loves them, they shall know the truth of that word — "As many as I love I rebuke and chasten."
4. This coming under the bond of the covenant means surely that they yield to its restraint. Can grace ever be a fetter? Oh yes, it is the most blessed of all fetters, for it holds us fast, and yet never violates our liberty. It binds the very heart in willing captivity. This is the bond of the covenant.
5. It means also the security of the covenant. "I will bring thee under the bond of the covenant," must mean, I will bind thee to the Lord Jesus, thy Surety and Bondsman, and He shall secure thee forever.
II. THE EXPERIENCE OF SOME IN COMING UNDER THE BOND OF THE COVENANT. These Israelites had gone very far into sin, as Jar as ever they could go: they had been false to their promises, wicked in their lives, and rebellious in heart against their God. With many of this character the Lord deals with a singular severity of love. He strikes them with a sword, for so only can their sins be slain. Of those processes of grace we will speak now.
1. First, He will cause them to come out from their present company. You shall find in your old sins such death and corruption that you shall turn from them as a man turns, from a rotting carcase.
2. Note next, that God said He would bring them into distress and loneliness — "And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people." This is, indeed, a terrible wilderness; for you walk in the midst of crowds and yet you are perfectly alone; you mingle with the great congregation, and yet feel that none can enter into your secret, Where now your mirth and giddiness? Where now your comrades in iniquity? The Lord can soon make the gay worldling into the desponding solitary.
3. What does He say next? — "And there will I plead with you face to face." When the Lord becomes so realised to the guilty conscience that there seems to be nothing anywhere except God and that poor sinner face to face with one another, then there is a time of fear and trembling indeed.
4. The Lord further declares He will plead with them as He pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness. How did He do that? Why, very terribly indeed. Is God pleading with you in that fashion? Does He bring judgment after judgment upon you? Do His threatenings follow each other like peals of thunder? Has He burned up all your comfort? Has He scorched and withered all your confidence? Are you brought unto the dust of death?
5. What more does God do? Well, it is said, "And I will cause you to pass under the rod." I have frequently seen sheep when the shepherd has required to count them: he makes them pass through a half-opened gate, and there he numbers them. They would all come rushing through, but the shepherd blocks the way, and as they come out one by one, he touches them with his staff, and so counts them. The Lord makes His chosen to pass through a narrow place, even a strait gate, where only one can come at a time, and there and then He counts them, and causes them to give an account of themselves individually. Then mark this: as the shepherd by counting his own sheep declares and exercises his right of possession, so the Lord, when He wakens up our minds to feel our personality, causes us to recognise that we are not our own, but are bought with a price. Moreover, we come under the rod of rulership; for a rod in the old time was the usual sceptre of kings. It means, also, the rod of chastisement. "Happy is the man whom God correcteth."
III. THE ULTIMATE DESIGN OF ALL THIS.
1. The first design is to bind them to God. All the better crop comes in afterlife from having a deep ploughing before the seed is sown.
2. The next design of God is that He may entirely separate His people from the world. When God makes His servants bitterly to know the evil fruit of sin, then they no longer hunger for that forbidden fruit.
3. Furthermore, the Lord chastens His people, that thus He may bring them into their own land of promise, into the rest of His love.
4. The great end of all is that we may know the Lord. When a man has smarted because of his sin, and has been made to feel the burning coals of anguish in his own spirit; when the Lord has set him up as a target, and shot at him with arrows which drink up his life; and when afterwards he has been saved, and the splendour of infinite love has shone upon him, then he knows Jehovah. When God has brought the contrite man into the place of security, comfort, joy, and delight in Christ Jesus, then he knows the Lord.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
PeopleEzekiel, Israelites, Jacob, Teman
PlacesBabylon, Bamah, Egypt, Negeb
TopicsAlthough, Bring, Cleared, Clearing, Disobey, Enter, Forth, Purge, Rebel, Rebels, Revolt, Sinning, Sojourn, Sojournings, Thus, Transgress, Transgressing, Uncontrolled, Yet
Outline1. God refuses to be consulted by the elders of Israel
4. He shows the story of their rebellions in Egypt
19. in the desert
27. and in the land
33. He promises to gather them by the Gospel
45. Under the name of a forest he shows the destruction of Jerusalem
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 20:38
LibraryTen Reasons Demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be Moral.
1. Because all the reasons of this commandment are moral and perpetual; and God has bound us to the obedience of this commandment with more forcible reasons than to any of the rest--First, because he foresaw that irreligious men would either more carelessly neglect, or more boldly break this commandment than any other; secondly, because that in the practice of this commandment the keeping of all the other consists; which makes God so often complain that all his worship is neglected or overthrown, …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
Manner of Covenanting.
Questions About the Nature and Perpetuity of the Seventh-Day Sabbath.
Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
A Sermon on Isaiah xxvi. By John Knox.
The Covenant of Works
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