Saturday, December 3, 2022
Reader: “The Light is coming,”
Response: “The Light of the world.”
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:24-28
For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
“And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God.
Have you noticed how many of the prophets say much the same message? Ezekiel (570-590 BC) gives us today’s pericope. All the prophets wrote concerning the coming of the Messiah, the restoration of Israel to its homeland, the land promised to Abraham and his descendents, and the fulfillment of God’s grand plan for his creation. As mentioned previously, advent is about the Return of the Lord and what will happen surrounding that world-ending-as-we-know-it event and the great importance of our being ready and anticipating that day. In 1948 Israel returned to its homeland. We await the rest of the fulfillment of the prophecy.
In this passage we read of the tender and responsive heart that God so desires in us as we await that Day of completion and the Lord’s return. Did you notice the source of the new heart and new spirit? In this passage God does everything concerning us. The Holy Spirit transforms our stony, stubborn hearts. We are given the Holy Spirit to guide us. Human beings’ best efforts to improve things and make the world “a better place in which to live” just are not working out if you have noticed! Fallen humans leading other fallen humans is a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, human beings with a true heart for God, led by the Holy Spirit do make a significant difference in any society.
I don’t know what kinds of things you have going on today or the pressures you face, but I do know what God wants for and from you. He is not looking for a stubborn, stony “I can do this myself, I know what I am doing” heart. He wants a heart of flesh for you with a Holy God-given Spirit. Ask him to give you that tender, responsive heart. People will notice it and the world desperately needs it. In the words of Isaiah, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Is 30:29 NIV)
Music: “Change My Heart O God” African Music Experience An oldie from 40 years ago
O Son of God, do a miracle for me, and change my heart; thy having taken flesh to redeem me was more difficult than to transform my wickedness. It is thou who, to help me, didst go to be scourged . . . thou, dear child of Mary, art the refined molten metal of our forge. ―a Celtic prayer, Tadhg Og O Huiginn, d.1448