“I will establish for you an everlasting covenant”
Ezekiel 16 today finishes with this wonderfully positive declaration. After all the negative messages Ezekiel had been caused to send back to the remnant of his people in and around Jerusalem; we read, “yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant” (verse 60). And so we ponder the wonder of the return and re-establishment of Israel in their homeland that began nearly 100 years ago.
Our chapter ends with the declaration, “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD”. We cannot resist the feeling that their time to “remember and be confounded” will very soon happen! Alongside this, let us be mindful of the atoning work of Jesus for us – have we genuinely accepted it, and been baptized?
The nation of Israel was scattered from their land and Jerusalem destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago. Jesus said, as we will read next week, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles, are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). The return of several million Jews to their homeland over the past 100 years – and becoming a recognised nation seventy years ago – is obviously a miracle.
Paul, in writing his letter to the believers in Rome, where many of the Jews had begun to live (also think of how many Roman centurions showed their belief in Jesus) was inspired to make this prophecy, “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (11:25). It is very enlightening to read the rest of that chapter! How long now before the world witnesses the fulfilment of God’s “everlasting covenant”? Those who really know, have faith in and obey God’s word will be there to see it. How utterly wonderful.