therefore prophesy and declare that this is what the Lord GOD says: Because they have made you desolate and have trampled you on every side, so that you became a possession of the rest of the nations and were taken up in slander by the lips of their talkers,
I. THE LAND OF CANAAN IS HONORED BY A DIVINE COMMUNICATION. It is a reasonable conclusion that the main interest God felt in the mountains and hills of Palestine arose from their use as a home and storehouse for his people. Yet it is proper that we should regard God as finding a pleasure in the hills and valleys on account of their native beauty. They were the workmanship of his hand, and there is every reason why he should find pleasure in his creations. The long, past history of their internal structure was open to his eye, and the beauty of their clothing was to him a delight. But why should he dispatch to these unconscious mountains a prophetic messenger? Without doubt, this was intended as a rebuke to the people who had grievously disregarded his messages. It was as if he said indirectly to the nation, "It is vain to speak longer to your stony ears. I turn away in sorrow, and address my message to the unconscious earth. The very mountains will give me better audience than you have done. If I speak to the dew, it will obey. If I speak to the fragrant soil, it will yield its fruit. If I speak to the mountains, they will put on verdure and beauty. But, alas! if I speak to the intelligent sons of Jacob, they turn deaf ears and rebellious wills to my gracious voice! O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!" By such methods of rebuke God endeavors to bring conviction home to the consciences of the people.
II. THE LAND OF CANAAN WAS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ISRAEL'S PAST RENOWN. This land had been specially selected by God as the most fitting scene for the training of the Hebrew nation. It was the glory of all lands, the envy of surrounding nations. Compared with the territory north, or east, or south, it was splendidly fertile, while its mountains made it a secure fortress. The diversity of hill and vale gave it peculiar beauty and served to exhilarate the mind. The mountain-peaks drew heavenward men's thoughts. According to the known law, that the physical features of a country mould unconsciously the character of the inhabitants, Canaan had been a benefit to the Jewish tribes. The land was a contrast to the soft, fertile loam of Egypt. The relaxing climate of Lower Egypt, together with the wondrous facility of obtaining large crops, made the people indolent and effeminate - impatient of arduous exertion. In Palestine a totally different condition of things prevailed. For the most part the operations of husbandry were severe. The sides of the hills required to be built in terraces in order to retain the soil. But climate and soil were congenial for almost every kind of fruit. It was a territory in which it was scarcely possible for one to grow rich; it was a territory eminently suitable for the development of hardy and industrious peasants. Especially the land was singularly dependent upon the periodic rainfall. For, devoid of rain and dew, the olives dropped withered and unripe, the vines were blighted, the young corn was shriveled. Hence, in an eminent degree, the people hung in constant dependence on the good will of God. He held in his hand the helm of their prosperity.
III. THE LAND OF CANAAN HAD SHARED IN ISRAEL'S DISCOMFITURE AND SHAME. Frequent invasions on their borders had made their homes and crops insecure, and, without security for obtaining crops, men will not sow their fields. Frequent absence also, to serve on the battle-field, drew away the young men from quiet husbandry. Such losses in such a country soon became serious. A diminution in their produce left them unable and unwilling to pay tribute to their foreign conquerors, and this resulted in fresh invasion. Step by step the land went out of cultivation. The terraces on the hillsides were neglected. The people forget God, and God withdrew the light of his favor. The mountain-slopes, denuded of soil, soon became bald, bleached rocks. The high reputation for fertility which the land had enjoyed was gone. Its excellence and glory departed. Sharon was no longer a fold for flocks. Carmel laid aside her bridal garments of floral beauty. Jackals and foxes and hyenas infested the land. With the degradation of the elect people came the degradation of the elect land.
IV. THE LAND OF CANAAN WAS ABOUT TO SHARE IN ISRAEL'S NEW PROSPERITY.
1. In proportion to the infamy the land had endured was to be the fertility again to be enjoyed. The prosperity should not only rise to the former level; it should greatly surpass it. The infallible promise was made directly to every part and branch of the territory. God had a tender regard for every mountain and valley, for every river and plain; each should be enriched and gladdened by his favoring smile. The shame of the heathen should be outbalanced by corresponding reputation and honor. On condition of the faithfulness of the people this revival of prosperity should be enduring.
2. God speaks in language adapted to the age. By any other mode of speech God could not have been understood; and in such a case he may as well not have spoken. As men were stimulated to great exertions by a sentiment of national jealousy, so, in accommodation to imperfect men, God speaks of himself as stirred to activity by the fire of jealousy. Such jealousy was only another form of considerate love. It had no respect to himself. It was a jealous regard for the good of Israel, a jealous desire to fulfill his ancient promises.
3. These pledges of good were redeemed in the centuries which followed Israel's restoration. The land was reclaimed from the ravages of wild beasts. Cities and villages were rebuilt. Many parts of Canaan became fertile as a garden. Confessedly, we feel a disappointment that the revival of prosperity was not more complete, nor more abiding. But this was due alone to the folly and guilt of the people. In every promise of God there underlies a moral condition. For him to give unmingled blessing to evil-doers would be a fresh evil and an encouragement to sin. The actual fortunes of Canaan, in the later centuries, prove the faithfulness of God and the fickleness of the people. - D.
Ye shall dwell in the land...and ye shall be My people.I. THE ABUNDANCE OF THE BLESSINGS OF GRACE. A newborn infant is the most helpless of all creatures. In its nakedness, weakness, dumbness, how dependent on a mother's love; yet not more so than God's people are on His care and kindness. Theirs are therefore circumstances in which His promises are exceedingly precious. The condition of believers closely resembles that of a man of boundless affluence, whose wealth lies, not so much in money, as in money's worth; in bills and bonds, all to be duly honoured, so soon as they become due. With these promises the poorest Christian is really a richer man than other men, with all their possessions; nor would he part with one of them for the world's wealth. Are you cast down because, while others have shallows, you have depths, dark depths of sorrow and suffering to pass through? Be it so: it is as easy for God to march "the host" through the wide, deep sea, as across the bed of Jordan. Are your corruptions strong? Be it so: Samson found it as easy to snap a new spun cable as withes fresh gathered on the river's bank; and believe me it is as easy for God to break thy tyrant's strongest as his lightest chain. A chain of iron and a thread of flax are all one to God. The blood of thy Saviour cleanseth from every sin; and nothing being impossible, nay, not even difficult to Omnipotence, be assured that in your battle, and watch, and toil, you shall find this promise true, My grace is sufficient for thee.
II. THE HAPPINESS WHICH GOD'S PEOPLE ENTER ON AT DEATH. God's people are like His ancient Israel. They have enemies who will harass them in life, and follow on their track to the very shores of time; but whoever or whatever these may be — sin, sorrow, poverty, temptations, trials, fears, doubts, Satan himself — oh! a death bed shall be the death of them all. This is what the redeemed escape from, but what they escape to, oh, the joys they enter on when they are with Christ, who can tell? We know that to die is — not shall be at a future time, and after some intermediate state — but to die is gain, gain immediate. One step, and what a step! the soul is in glory. And what and where is heaven? I cannot tell. It looks to the eye of faith, much like a star to the eye of flesh. A shining object, we see it gleaming in the dusky fields of space, but see nothing more, even when our eyes are assisted by the most powerful telescope. By what beings it is inhabited; what forms they have; what tongue they speak; what the character of the landscape in these upper worlds, we do not know, and perhaps never shall, till we have cast loose a body which, like an anchor, moors us to this earth, and with a soul unchained, free perhaps as thought, we are left to roam the universe, and pass, as on the rapid wings of a wish, from world to world of our Father's kingdom. Never, till then, shall we know either where or what heaven is. The best description of it is to say that it is indescribable.
III. THE COMPLETE BLESSEDNESS OF THE SAINTS AT THE RESURRECTION IN THE RESTORATION OF ALL THAT SIN FORFEITED. There were periods in creation; progressive stages. Step by step the work advanced to its consummation. Like creation, the Gospel has had its periods of progress. It gradually advanced in its development from the date of the first promise given by God; when He, the Judge, and the culprits, man and the devil, stood face to face upon the ruins of Eden. There yet remains an aspect of redemption in which it is not complete. All that death and Satan hold they must relinquish; all that Christ has purchased He shall possess. The soul wants her partner; and although the exile may return no more, nor see his native land, the redeemed shall come back to claim their bodies from the earth; aye, and claim the very earth they lie in. The saints shall inherit the earth. Under laws accommodated to a new economy, this wide world shall become one smiling Eden, where, exempt from physical as from moral evils, none shall shiver amid arctic frosts, nor wither under tropic heat; and these fields of snow and arid sands shall be all flowered with roses. From the convulsions of expiring, or rather the birth-pangs of parturient nature, a newborn world shall come; a home worthy of immortals; a palace befitting its King. The blood that, falling on Calvary, dyed earth's soil shall bless it; and this ancient theatre of Satan's triumph shall be the seat of Emmanuel's kingdom, and the witness of His glory.
( T. Guthrie, D. D.)
PlacesEdom, Jerusalem, Mount Seir, Tigris-Euphrates Region
TopicsCause, Crushed, Defaming, Desolate, Desolating, Evil, Glad, Gossip, Hast, Heathen, Heritage, Hounded, Infamy, Lips, Malicious, Nations, Object, People's, Possession, Prophesy, Prophet, Ravaged, Reason, Remnant, Report, Residue, Rest, Round, Says, Shame, Sides, Slander, Sovereign, Swallowed, Swallowing, Talk, Talkers, Thus, Tip, Tongue, Whispering, Yea
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 36:1-7
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).
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).
The Holy Nation
A New Heart.
Prayer --The Forerunner of Mercy
The Covenant Promise of the Spirit
The New Heart
What Self Deserves
The Stony Heart Removed
Let Your Hearts be Much Set on Revivals of Religion. ...
God Has Everything to do with Prayer
How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
Jesus Angry with Hard Hearts
The Everlasting Covenant of the Spirit
Touching Jacob, However, that which He did at his Mother's Bidding...
Pastor in Parish (I. ).
Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect. Matthew 5:48.
The Person Sanctified.
Evidences Internal and Experimental.
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