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The Prophet is drawing in this Chapter a striking contrast between the nations that know not God, and his people, to whom He hath manifested himself.
This is a most solemn and striking Sermon of the Prophet. Surely it carries with it decisive testimonies under what gracious influence it was delivered. It appears, that in consequence of the Lord's chastening his people the enemy triumphed: Aha, aha, so would we have it! But, saith the Lord, have they by their wiles tempted you to evil, and now do they triumph over you for this shall not be. And then follows a string of the most blessed promises. Reader! do not overlook the personal interest every child of God hath in this scripture. All that belong to Christ, are part of Christ, and all the promises in him, are yea and Amen. And that is not of the smallest kind which the Lord gave concerning the reproaches of his people, by the Prophet: Isaiah 25:6-8 ; 2 Corinthians 1:20 .
What a sad account is here! Is it the Lord's Israel that is thus spoken of? And do the house of Israel indeed not only thus disgrace themselves by sin, but bring an odium on the good way, by their conduct? Reader! what a solemn thing is it for the children of God to be thus discovered! Lord, keep thy redeemed ones by thy grace, that they cause not the enemy to blaspheme!
See, Reader, and mark the blessed cause, for it runs through the whole Bible; the Lord's motives in redemption-work. The glory of Jehovah is the first, and last, and ultimate design of Jehovah, in all his dispensations, both in providence and grace; in creation and redemption. So saith that song John heard from heaven. Revelation 4:11 . Jesus had an eye to his people in redemption: but the zeal to his Father's glory was the great predisposing cause of all. Psalms 69:9 .
Reader! pray read over again and again those sweet promises; Are they not like the Chapter of the grapes of Eshcol? And oh! how truly blessed to the souls that have partaken of them in the Lord Jesus! Every word is full of grace, and rich with mercy. First, the Lord will gather his redeemed to himself. This begins the promise. Are they scattered far and near? Then will he gather them from all lands. And where will he bring them? Into their own land. And if the Reader would see how the Lord will do it! let him turn to one scripture to see how. Ephesians 1:10 . And to another scripture to discover the cause why. Jeremiah 32:40 . Well; but when they are brought, what will the Lord do for them; and what will he do to them! These sweet verses declare. Are they polluted? They shall be washed from all their filthiness, in the blood of Jesus; Have they hard hearts? The Lord will soften them. Are they ignorant? The Lord will put his spirit in them. Are they impoverished and poor? The Lord will greatly multiply them. And what shall be the blessed effects of this bounty? They shall remember themselves, and loath themselves for all the evil they have committed, Sweet consideration! Nothing short of a spirit of grace in the soul can induce a self-loathing, for sin in our nature. And on what account is it that the Lord doth all these things to Israel? Because they are Israel his people, his redeemed, his chosen, His own sake, his glorious name's sake, is the sole cause, and his own glory. No merit, no sorrow, no repentance; nothing in them moving the Lord to it. No not even their misery: for his love, and the glory of his name, preceded even their being. Precious salvation of a precious precious Saviour!
One might have concluded, that after such a string of the richest promises as we have just reviewed in the preceding verses, the next account might have been of Israel's thankfulness. But the Lord hath not done with promises. He is not only rich in mercy, but we meet with the exceeding riches of his grace, and the abundant overflowing goodness of our God. The Lord, so delighteth in rejoicing over his people for good, that when he hath cleansed his people and brought them home, he will cause them to dwell in their own land. And the land shall be fenced, yea, the Lord himself will be a wall of fire round about to keep it. Nothing of desolation shall anymore take place. The very heathen shall be constrained to acknowledge the Lord's hand is in the mercies of the Lord's people. It shall be a delightsome land, like that of Eden. And all shall plainly prove and testify, that it is the Lord's doing, and the Lord is blessed in his people, and his people made everlastingly blessed in the Lord. One sweet point more is insisted upon in summing up this blessed scripture, and that is, the Lord saith, that for these mercies he will be enquired of to do it for them. Reader! do not overlook this. The Lord's people are a praying people. They are the praying seed of Jacob. And as the Lord loves to hear his children speak to him, the Lord will give them holy errands to his throne. Sweet encouragement to every praying soul. Jesus makes a gracious improvement of it. Luke 18:1 , etc.
EVER blessed and ever gracious God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! help every poor sinner that reads this Chapter, on whom these sweet promises come, and for whom they are from all eternity designed; help him to adore the riches of that free and sovereign grace, by which they are bestowed upon the Church, in and through the finished salvation that is in Christ Jesus! Surely, O Lord! the Gospel was never more fully preached than it is here done, by thy servant the Prophet. Let the enemies of the cross fancy they have triumphed in thy people's humiliation by reason of their sin. Thy people, O Lord, have reason indeed in the view of their transgressions, to be ashamed and confounded for all their ways, and to loath themselves in their own sight. But in the sovereign salvation of God and the Lamb, they may and will rejoice. It is for thine own name's sake, O Lord, that mercy is shown to thine Israel: yea, Lord, thou hast wrought for thy name's sake, and hast had pity for thine holy name: though thy rebellious children have profaned it by reason of their transgressions in the sight of the heathen, among whom they dwell. But, praises forever to thy redeeming love and grace, thou hast, in thy dear Son's merits, blood, and righteousness, procured more glory and honour to thy great name, than could have been done by the everlasting and unsinning obedience of men and angels to all eternity. And oh! thou gracious Lord, Jehovah! is not thy Church more lovely when sprinkled from all her filthiness, and from all her idols, by the blood of the Lamb, than could have been done for her had she never been polluted? Is not the Church more beautiful when beheld by our God in the holy garments of Christ's righteousness, than ever she could have appeared in his sight in any righteousness of her own: even had she never polluted herself from the original righteousness in which she was first created! Surely, Lord, the holiness of the Church in Jesus, her glorious head, is more blessed to thy view, now washed, cleansed, and adorned, as a bride for her husband, than in any garment short of Jesus's robe of salvation, men or angels could have found to appear in before Jehovah. Oh then, fulfil those sweet and precious promises in Christ to all thy redeemed. Yea, Lord! cause the heathen that are left round about to know, that it is the Lord that hath built the ruined places of his people, and planted that which was desolate. And do thou, Lord, by the sovereignty of thy grace in the hearts of thy people, as thou hast thus wrought by thy mercy, salvation for thy people, cause ever redeemed true Israelite of thine to be continually enquiring of the Lord for those blessings, that the Lord may do what he hath promised for them. Yea, make known thy great name both far and near; and let all the earth know that thou art the Lord our God.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 36". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27