I will no longer allow the taunts of the nations to be heard against you, and you will no longer endure the reproach of the peoples or cause your nation to stumble, declares the Lord GOD."
Ezekiel is inspired to foretell the confusion of the enemies of Israel who have brought about her calamities, and who delight in her humiliation, and in their contempt deride her sorrows. But this in itself is small con-solution. And he adds predictions of the restoration, recovery, and revival of Israel after "her warfare is accomplished, and her iniquity is pardoned." The land and its inhabitants are naturally, as well as poetically, associated in his mind. The restored and rejoicing sons of Jacob till the soil which has been long neglected, and the soil rewards their labors with abundant fruitfulness. It is obvious that these prophetic descriptions have an application to the spiritual renovation of a repenting nation, to the Church of Christ under the genial influences of the Holy Spirit, and to the ransomed race of men in millennial prosperity.
I. THE AUTHOR OF THIS REVIVAL. "I," says the Lord, "am for you, and I will turn unto you." The Creator is the Source and Giver of all life, both in the natural and in the spiritual realm. If the wilderness is to be as the garden of God, it must be through the fall of showers from heaven, through dews of grace, through the Divine breath awakening the dead to life, through the sunshine from God's own countenance calling forth the vitality and the fragrance of the spiritual spring.
II. THE SCENE OF THIS REVIVAL. The land which has been so long desolate by reason of its occupation by hostile armies, and by reason of the deportation of its inhabitants, is visited by reviving mercy. The waste places, the dismantled and forsaken cities, are regarded in compassion and visited in mercy.
III. THE SUBJECTS OF THIS REVIVAL. These are living men, moral natures, capable of true life. "I will multiply men upon you;" "I will cause men to walk upon you." It is the men who make the land what it is, who till the soil, occupy the cities, garrison the fortresses, fill the temples, raise to heaven the free song of trust and praise. The return of the Hebrew captives to their inheritance, the land given to their fathers, was a joyful occasion, and was the earnest of good things to come. When God gives blessing, it is to living, spiritual, immortal natures that he gives it. He blesses his Church by raising up and consecrating to his service holy men and women, who in every position and vocation of life fulfill duty under a sacred impulse and with a noble aim.
IV. THE TOKENS OF THIS REVIVAL. Fruitfulness, increase, abundance, - these am the signs that God is working, that the winter is over and past, that the blossoms of the spring, the promise of the year, have not been delusive. "Herein," says Christ, "is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
V. THE MEASURE OF REVIVAL. "I will do better unto you than at your beginnings." Such is the gracious assurance of the Almighty. Israel had known times of benediction and prosperity; she should know them again, only more abundantly. All past experience is transcended when the Lord stretches out his hand to bless. - T.
I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings. I.
WHAT IS THERE, THEN, SO GOOD IN OUR BEGINNINGS?
1. One choice enjoyment was our vivid sense of pardon. Taken out of the bonds of iniquity, our hearts danced at the very sound of the redeeming name.
2. You had then a delicious enjoyment of the good things of the covenant of grace. You did not know a tenth of what you know now, but you intensely enjoyed what you did know.
3. And, at that time, we were like the children of Israel in a third matter, namely, that we had repeated victories. You marvelled to see how the adversary was subdued beneath the, foot of your faith. Those were good times, were they not — those beginnings?
4. In those days you had great delight in prayer. When alone with Christ, it was heaven below; and in the prayer meetings, when God's people were warm at heart, how you delighted to unite with them!
5. In those days we were full of living fruitfulness. What marvels we were going to do; ay, and we did many of them by God's good grace!
6. Then, if we had but little strength, yet we kept the Lord's Word. If we had but one talent, we made as much use of it, perhaps, as some do with ten.
7. Oh, how we loved the Saviour when first we discovered how He had loved us with an everlasting love!
II. CAN ANYTHING BE BETTER THAN THIS? Well, it would be a very great pity if there could not be, because I am sure we, when we were young beginners, were not much to boast of; and all the joy we had was, artier all, but little compared with what is revealed in the Word of God. In what respects, then, can our future be better than that which is behind?
1. I answer very readily, faith may be stronger. At first it shoots up like the lily, very beautiful, but fragile; after. wards it is like the oak. with great roots that grip the soil, and rugged branches that defy the winds.
2. God gives to His people, as they advance, much more knowledge. We learn the art of dissecting truth — taking it to pieces, and seeing the different veins of Divine thought that run through it; and then we see with delight blessing after blessing conveyed to us by the person and sacrifice of our exalted Lord.
3. Love to Christ gets to be more constant. It is a passion always, but with believers who grow in grace it comes to be a principle as well as a passion. If they are not always blazing with love, there is a good fire banked up within the soul.
4. As Christians grow in grace, prayer becomes more mighty. If the Lord builds you up into true spiritual manhood you will know how to wrestle.
5. So, I think, it is in usefulness. Growing Christians, and full-grown Christians, are more useful than beginners. Their fruit, if not quite so plentiful, is of better quality, and more mellow.
6. In fact, this one thing is clear of all believers who have grown in grace — that the work of grace in them is nearer completion. They are getting nearer heaven, and they are getting more fit for it.
III. HOW CAN WE SECURE THAT IT WILL BE BETTER WITH US BY AND BY THAN IT IS NOW?
1. I answer, first, keep to the simplicity of your first faith. Never get an inch beyond the Cross; for, if you do, you will have to come back. That is your place till you die: you nothing, and Christ everything.
2. At the same time, practise great watchfulness. We ought to have the eyes of a lynx, and they ought never to be closed. We know not which way the next temptation will come.
3. The next advice is, grow in dependence upon God. You cannot keep yourself unless He keeps you. Remember that.
4. Determine, at the very beginning, to be thorough. Daily dread lest in anything you should omit to do your Lord's will, or should trespass against Him. In this way your joy shall be maintained, and you shall be settled after your old estates; and God will do better unto you than at your beginnings.
5. Seek for more instruction. Try to grow in the knowledge of God, that your joy may be full.
In some parts of the Western Highlands of Scotland the traveller's eye is delighted by the clear and sunlit waters of the lake, running far up into the hills. But as he climbs over the slopes and catches sight of the waters of the Atlantic, bathed in the glory of the setting sun, he almost forgets the beautiful vision which previously arrested him, for the latter scene is far superior. Thus do the growths of spiritual character unfold richer conceptions of Christ's infinite love and character.
PlacesEdom, Jerusalem, Mount Seir, Tigris-Euphrates Region
TopicsAffirmation, Anymore, Bear, Bearest, Cause, Declares, Disgrace, Ears, Fall, Heathen, Ignominy, Insults, Longer, Nation, Nations, Peoples, Proclaim, Reproach, Says, Scorn, Shame, Shaming, Sovereign, Stumble, Suffer, Taunts
Outline1. The land of Israel is comforted, by destruction of the heathen, who spitefully used it
8. and by the blessings of God promised unto it
16. Israel was rejected for their sin
21. and shall be restored without their desert
25. The blessings of Christ's kingdom
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 36:8-12
LibraryJanuary 2. "I Will Cause You to Walk in My Statutes" (Eze. xxxvi. 27).
"I will cause you to walk in My statutes" (Eze. xxxvi. 27). The highest spiritual condition is one where life is spontaneous and flows without effort, like the deep floods of Ezekiel's river, where the struggles of the swimmer ceased, and he was borne by the current's resistless force. So God leads us into spiritual conditions and habits which become the spontaneous impulses of our being, and we live and move in the fulness of the divine life. But these spiritual habits are not the outcome of some …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
May 30. "I Will Put My Spirit Within You" (Ez. xxxvi. 27).
"I will put My Spirit within you" (Ez. xxxvi. 27). "I will put My Spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments." "I will put My fear in your hearts, and ye shall not turn away from Me." Oh, friend, would not that be blessed, would not that be such a rest for you, all worn out with this strife in your own strength? Do you not want a strong man to conquer the strong man of self and sin? Do you not want a leader? Do you not want God Himself to be with …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
August 25. "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" (Ezek. xxxvi. 27).
"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" (Ezek. xxxvi. 27). This is a great deal more than a new heart. This a heart filled with the Holy Ghost, the Divine Spirit, the power that causes us to walk in God's commandments. This is the greatest crisis that comes to a Christian's life, when into the spirit that was renewed in conversion, God Himself comes to dwell and make it His abiding place, and hold it by His mighty power …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
The Holy Nation
'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. 26. 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. 27. 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. 28. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A New Heart.
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."--EZEKIEL xxxvi. 26. In the beautiful and suggestive dream of Solomon, which is recorded in the third chapter of the First Book of Kings, God appears to him, saying, "Ask what I shall give thee"; and Solomon's answer is, "O Lord, I am but a child set over this great people, give me, I pray Thee, a hearing heart." And God said to him, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, nor riches; …
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby
Prayer --The Forerunner of Mercy
Now, this morning I shall try, as God shall help me, first to speak of prayer as the prelude of blessing: next I shall try to show why prayer is thus constituted by God the forerunner of his mercies, and then I shall close by an exhortation, as earnest as I can make it, exhorting you to pray, if you would obtain blessings. I. Prayer is the FORERUNNER OF MERCIES. Many despise prayer: they despise it, because they do not understand it. He who knoweth how to use that sacred art of prayer will obtain …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857
The Covenant Promise of the Spirit
I. First, as for THE COMMENDATION OF THE TEXT, the tongues of men and of angels might fail. To call it a golden sentence would be much too commonplace: to liken it to a pearl of great price would be too poor a comparison. We cannot feel, much less speak, too much in praise of the great God who has put this clause into the covenant of His grace. In that covenant every sentence is more precious than heaven and earth; and this line is not the least among His choice words of promise: "I will put my spirit …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891
The New Heart
And now, my dear friends I shall attempt this morning, first of all, to show the necessity for the great promise contained in my text, that God will give us a new heart and a new spirit, and after that, I shall endeavor to show the nature of the great work which God works in the soul, when he accomplishes this promise; afterwards, a few personal remarks to all my hearers. I. In the first place, it is my business to endeavor to show THE NECESSITY FOR THIS GREAT PROMISE. Not that it needs any showing …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858
The other error to which man is very prone, is that of relying upon his own merit. Though there is no righteousness in any man, yet in every man there is a proneness to truth in some fancied merit. Strange that it should be so, but the most reprobate characters have yet some virtue as they imagine, upon which they rely. You will find the most abandoned drunkard pride himself that he is not a swearer. You will find the blaspheming drunkard pride himself that at least he is honest. You will find men …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859
What Self Deserves
"Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations."--Ezekiel 36:31. IT HAS been the supposition of those who know not by experience that if a man be persuaded that he is pardoned, and that he is a child of God, he will necessarily become proud of the distinction which God has conferred upon him. Especially if he be a believer in predestination, when he finds that he is one of God's chosen, it is supposed that the necessary consequence will be that he will …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916
The Stony Heart Removed
"Can aught beneath a power divine The stubborn will subdue? 'Tis thine, eternal Spirit, thine, To form the heart anew. To chase the shades of death away And bid the sinner live! A beam of heaven, a vital ray, 'Tis thine alone to give." But while such a thing would be impossible apart from God, it is certain that God can do it. Oh, how the Master delighteth to undertake impossibilities! To do what others can do were but like unto man; but to accomplish that which is impossible to the creature is a …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 8: 1863
Let Your Hearts be Much Set on Revivals of Religion. ...
Let your hearts be much set on revivals of religion. Never forget that the churches have hitherto existed and prospered by revivals; and that if they are to exist and prosper in time to come, it must be by the same cause which has from the first been their glory and defence.--Joel Hawes If any minister can be satisfied without conversions, he shall have no conversions.--C. H. Spurgeon I do not believe that my desires for a revival were ever half so strong as they ought to be; nor do I see how a minister …
E.M. Bounds—Purpose in Prayer
God Has Everything to do with Prayer
Christ is all. We are complete in Him. He is the answer to every need, the perfect Savior. He needs no decoration to heighten His beauty, no prop to increase His stability, no girding to perfect His strength. Who can gild refined gold, whiten the snow, perfume the rose or heighten the colors of the summer sunset? Who will prop the mountains or help the great deep? It is not Christ and philosophy, nor Christ and money, nor civilization, nor diplomacy, nor science, nor organisation. It is Christ alone. …
Edward M. Bounds—The Reality of Prayer
How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
(Admonition 27.) Differently to be admonished are those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters, and those who covet indeed the things that are of this world, but yet are wearied with the labour of adversity. For those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters are to be admonished, when all things answer to their wishes, lest, through fixing their heart on what is given, they neglect to seek the giver; lest they love their pilgrimage instead of their country; lest they turn …
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great
Jesus Angry with Hard Hearts
But I must not let imagination mislead me: they did nothing of the kind. Instead of this, they sat watching the Lord Jesus, not to be delighted by an act of his power, but to find somewhat of which they might accuse him. When all came to all, the utmost that they would be able to allege would be that he had healed a withered hand on the Sabbath. Overlooking the commendation due for the miracle of healing, they laid the emphasis upon its being done on the Sabbath; and held up their hands with horror …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886
The Everlasting Covenant of the Spirit
"They shall be My people, and l will be their God. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me."--JER. xxxii. 38, 40. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take 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 …
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephes. ii. 10. Good works are the ripe fruit from the tree which God has planted in sanctification. In the saint there is life; from that life workings proceed; and those workings are either good or evil. Hence good works are not added to sanctification for mere effect, but belong to it. The discussion of sanctification is not complete without the discussion of Good Works. …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
Touching Jacob, However, that which He did at his Mother's Bidding...
24. Touching Jacob, however, that which he did at his mother's bidding, so as to seem to deceive his father, if with diligence and in faith it be attended to, is no lie, but a mystery. The which if we shall call lies, all parables also, and figures designed for the signifying of any things soever, which are not to be taken according to their proper meaning, but in them is one thing to be understood from another, shall be said to be lies: which be far from us altogether. For he who thinks this, may …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
Pastor in Parish (I. ).
Master, to the flock I speed, In Thy presence, in Thy name; Show me how to guide, to feed, How aright to cheer and blame; With me knock at every door; Enter with me, I implore. We have talked together about the young Clergyman's secret life, and private life, and his life in (so to speak) non-clerical intercourse with others, and now lastly of his life as it stands related to his immediate leader in the Ministry. In this latter topic we have already touched the great matter which comes now at …
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren
Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect. Matthew 5:48.
In the 43rd verse, the Savior says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward …
Charles G. Finney—Lectures to Professing Christians
The Person Sanctified.
"The putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh."--Col. ii. 11. Sanctification embraces the whole man, body and soul, with all the parts, members, and functions that belong to each respectively. It embraces his person and, all of his person. This is why sanctification progresses from the hour of regeneration all through life, and can be completed only in and through death. St. Paul prays for the church of Thessalonica: "The God of peace sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit and soul …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
[a.d. 145-220.] When our Lord repulsed the woman of Canaan (Matt. xv. 22) with apparent harshness, he applied to her people the epithet dogs, with which the children of Israel had thought it piety to reproach them. When He accepted her faith and caused it to be recorded for our learning, He did something more: He reversed the curse of the Canaanite and showed that the Church was designed "for all people;" Catholic alike for all time and for all sorts and conditions of men. Thus the North-African …
Evidences Internal and Experimental.
1. The external evidences of revealed religion are, in their proper place and sphere, of the highest importance. Christianity rests not upon theory, but upon historical facts sustained by an overwhelming mass of testimony. It is desirable that every Christian, so far as he has opportunity, should make himself acquainted with this testimony for the strengthening of his own faith and the refutation of gainsayers. Nevertheless, many thousands of Christians are fully established in the faith of the gospel …
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible
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