How Like a Father

Ezekiel 36:5 “Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations…who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy.”

Observation: To this point Ezekiel had focused on the depth and justification of God’s anger toward rebellious Israel. But in these verses He defended Israel, bringing His anger to bear against her enemies.

Application: While not excusingIsrael’s sin, God vented His anger against those who had harmed his people. He is nowhere more like a father than in these verses. He had seen His offspring’s shortcomings in a clear-eyed way and dealt appropriately with them. Now, He showed that He is still Abba-Father, bringing all the power and might of heaven against those who would strike His beloved. 

God is clearly saying He does these good things not because the people deserve them, but because of His own holy name (see Eze. 20:22; 39:25). He wants to remind me of His holiness standard and bring me up to it. The actions are all His: Ezekiel 36:23, “I will vindicate”; verse 24, “I will take,…gather…and bring”; verse 25, “I will sprinkle”; verse 26, “I will give…a new heart and…new spirit”; verse 27, “I will…cause you to walk in My statutes”; verse 29, “I will save you…and will call for grain…and I will not bring a famine on you”; verse 30, “I will multiply the fruit”; and finally in verse 36, He says He is doing all this so everyone “will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate.”

He is like a godly father who disciplines his child. The wayward child bears the pain of discipline and enjoys the fruit of restoration when it finally comes. But the father’s motivation goes deeper than to help the child and does not spring from the child’s merit; it springs instead from a sense of duty to fulfill the purposes of fathering itself. There is accountability to God to intervene in the life of a wayward child, to rebuke, to bring correction. While the fruit of this rests in the child’s response, the core willingness of the father to bring correction and then to lavish benefits of restoration reflect loving obedience of the father to walk in the ways modeled by God Himself.

Prayer: Lord, Your word once again reminds me that there is nothing I can do to merit your special favor. You lavish all its benefits upon me because of Your great name, because of Your character. Thank You, Lord, for bringing correction when needed, and for your unmatchable grace.

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