God’s lesson through Ezekiel

The prophet Ezekiel can be a hard read for those who live in our current-day Sodom and Gomorra. Here is but one example of what Ezekiel tells us, with great authority (Authority, actually). Ezekiel 37:21-24:

Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land…

Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

The Christian believer can take away two principal thoughts. First, the literal one, that God has promised the Jews the land of Israel. Which, in Scripture, we know to be everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

For Christians, there is no consensus that any particular land is ours, but we may infer that the entire earth should be under one king, Jesus Christ. Emphasis on the “should,” and, of course, how we get there is to be by moral suasion and persuasion, not force of arms. God will draw those to Christ whom He would; the best we can do is spread the Gospel and “make straight the path.”

For those who think that America is the new Israel, and there are not a few who do, Ezekiel provides a strong reminder that we shall not defile ourselves with “their idols, nor with their detestable things.” Oops. As Peggy Noonan reminds us, we have become rather vulgar in our pursuit of happiness.

My take on our popular culture is that we are heathen; we lust after gold and trinkets; we idolize entertainers and professional athletes. Are there many good people who do none of these things? Of course. But, taken as a whole, we are not God’s chosen people; America taken as a whole does not at all “walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

No nation ever has been, or can be, perfect. Just as no human person can be or has been. Only Christ is, and our imperfection is exactly why Israel failed under the Law, and why we have hope, as individuals, for salvation.

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