“Thus says the LORD GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name…” - Ezekiel 36:22
The phrase “know that I am the LORD” occurs at least 72 times in the book of Ezekiel. And this number comes from just a quick scan of that exact phrase – the number of allusions to this concept push the stat much higher. In today’s reading alone this exact phrase occurs 17 times: to Edom, to many nations, to Magog and the people of the coastlands, to dry bones, to the house and mountains of Israel.
Today the LORD first directs Ezekiel’s attention to Mount Seir – Edom – the descendants of Esau and cousins to the children of Israel. Listen for the LORD’s rebuke for taking advantage of Israel’s demise, while they are themselves ignorant of the LORD’s hand against them. He then turns back to Israel, reminding them that His judgment of Edom, and their own coming restoration, are not for their sake, but for the sake of His holy name. This restoration – this new life – is illustrated vividly when in chapter 37 Ezekiel says “the LORD brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.” I’ll leave you to read this and delight in its imagery.
Finally, in chapters 38 and 39, Ezekiel is told to “set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…” One of the principles we follow at You Can Read the Bible is to stick with what the text demands, rather than what it could imply. I bring this up because there are a variety of interpretations of who Gog is and what the land of Magog might refer to. Pay attention to what the text demands: that Ezekiel is to prophecy against a king and kingdom who will rise up out of the north at some future time, against whom the LORD “will vindicate [His] holiness before their eyes.”
Our verse for this week is 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Ezekiel 35 through 39. Now let’s read it!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.