Over the past weeks and months that I have been reading chronologically and participating in cover to cover I've developed a system for making notes and pulling my thoughts together. It's not a sophisticated system but it works for me. As I read, if I find something that speaks to me, I put a small numbered post it note on that page. This is particularly useful for me as we tend to jump around as we read and the numbered system helps me to see when I read what.
The thing that jumped out at me this week came from Ezekiel 39. We have been reading so much about the destruction that God will be bringing to Israel and the suffering that they will endure. As I read Ezekiel 39:28-29 I realized that while this punishment was for Israel's own good (and mine as well), God continues to show His great love for His people. He leaves them with a promise that after the punishment has been endured, "for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."
I then went back to see what else I had marked for the week (because my mind is full of butterflies that flit from thing to thing) and this is what I discovered:
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Jeremiah 31:34b
'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.' Ezekiel 34:11
...the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. Ezekiel 34:27b
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:25-27
...for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 37:23b
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. Ezekiel 37:26
So, do you see any theme here? I love the thought of God's forgiveness and the thought that He is waiting to welcome them home. Join us at Bev's this week for a recap of this weeks readings.
And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I'll go after the lost, I'll collect the strays, I'll doctor the injured, I'll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they're not exploited. Ezekiel 34:11