THE LORD’S CONCERN FOR HIS HOLY NAME

THE LORD’S CONCERN FOR HIS HOLY NAME

(FROM EZEKIEL 36:16-38)

Leslie M. John

The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the prophet calling him as “Son of man”, and explained to him as to how the “House of Israel”, (Northern Kingdom of Israel), defiled the land by their ways and deeds that included idolatry introduced by the tribes of Dan, Ephraim, and Kings Jeroboam, Ahab and his wife Jezebel etc. None of the nineteen kings, who ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, did what was right in the sight of the LORD.

The LORD likened their idolatry and their abominations to the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity. They shed blood upon the land with their sacrifices to the idols and polluted the land causing the LORD to pour out His fury upon them, and scattering them among the nations. The LORD judged them according to their ways and their deeds and scattered them in many countries in the world. No one ever thought that their land which became desolate, and their language which became extinct, would ever be revived. The prophecies in Ezekiel Chapters 36 and 37 were fulfilled to the letter, and they became a nation in 1948 A.D. and their language Hebrew became their national language once again.

Even as they wandered in the countries on the face of the earth, they profaned the LORD’s holy name in that the people said of them “These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.”

“I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this” (Deuteronomy 32:26-27)

Amidst all such profanity the “House of Israel” brought to the LORD among the nations the LORD’s concern was for His Holy Name which they were defiling. If only He was not concerned of His holy name, perhaps their restoration would have been a remote possibility.

Incorrigible as they were, the children of Israel defiled the name of the LORD wherever they went, but the LORD had concern for His holy name, and the promises that He made to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is that immense concern of the LORD of His Holy name that compelled Him to have mercy on them and call them as His people over and over again.

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8)

THE LORD PUTS HIS SPIRIT WITHIN THEM

In view of the fact that they continually defiled the name of the LORD and deserved repeated chastisement, whereby the heathen nations derided of their pathetic condition, as if the LORD was not capable of helping them, the only alternative for the LORD was to put His spirit within them and give them a soft and yielding heart to obey the LORD and be obedient to Him.

The LORD commands Ezekiel the prophet to say to the “house of Israel” that it was not for their sake that the LORD was about to unite them with the “house of Judah” (the southern kingdom of Israel), but for the sake of the concern He had for His holy name, which they profaned among the nations wherever they went.

The LORD says He will vindicate before the eyes of the nations, the holiness of His great name, whereby the nations will know that He is the LORD. He promises that He will take them out of the nations and gather them from all countries, and bring them into their own land. He says He will sprinkle as much clean water on them as to cleanse them of their un-cleanness caused by their idolatry.

The LORD says He will remove their stony heart, the stubborn heart and will give them a new heart of flesh, and will put within them a new Spirit that will make them to walk in His ways and obedient to His statutes.

This alludes to the stony places where some of the seeds fell upon stony places and did not spring up because there was no depth of the earth and the Lord explains the parable saying the man with stony heart receives the word of God but when tribulation or persecution comes along he is offended. (cf. Matthew 13:5, 20-21)

The LORD promises them that there will no more be famine in their land; instead He will fill their land with grain and fruit. He blesses their fields to produce in abundance, and will not allow their enemies to scoff at them any more. The LORD promised and reiterated that He will give them one heart and new Spirit.

“I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39 ESV)

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 ESV)

In the New Testament similar pattern emerged in Christian Church when in the first century the multitudes, who believed, were of one heart and of one accord. They did not take pride in saying their possessions as theirs, but considered of belonging to all the believers, and gave them to the Lord.

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32)

The LORD says when He gives the “House of Israel”, one heart to be in one accord, and puts a new Spirit in their hearts, it is then that they will remember their evil ways, and realize that their deeds were not good. The LORD says it is not for their sakes that He does so, but He does it for His holy name sake. He warns them to be ashamed of what they did in the past, and to loathe of their past days when they lived in sin and repent. He says that they should acknowledge over and over that He was restoring them back to their past blessed status not because they deserved it but for the LORD’s holy name sake.

The blessings that the LORD will shower on them will include the cleansing of their sin and their abomination leading to their idolatry. Their land, which was desolate, will be blessed to become like the Garden of Eden, and their waste lands, and their ruined cities, will be fortified and inhabited. Consequently, the LORD will be honored, and the nations around them will see and understand that He is the LORD God, who rebuilt their ruined places, and replanted that which was desolate. The LORD says He spoke and, therefore, He will do it.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33)

Many times Christian Churches take the promise in Jeremiah and apply it to themselves. True Lord Jesus Christ said “… this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28), but the promise that is in Jeremiah 31:33 specifically belongs to the “house of Israel” whom the LORD restores.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Hebrews 10:16)

The LORD also says that He will make the “House of Israel” ask of Him to increase their people like a flock, like flock for sacrifices, like flock at Jerusalem when they celebrate the feasts of the LORD. The cities will be filled with flocks of people, and the LORD says that the people will know that He is the LORD God, the God of heavens, who lives forever and ever.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)

Salvation is in none other than Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into this world to save sinners. Anyone responding to His call and repents of one’s sin will be saved and will receive everlasting life. It is not that we loved Him first, but He loved us first and it is because He does it for His glory. When a sinner repents and is saved heaven rejoices.

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 ESV)