Israel’s Response to Yahweh’s Initiative
The response of Israel represented the contrast of the arrogance and defiance that Ezekiel experienced with his fellow Israelites. There were three specific characteristics to their response to Yahweh’s actions. First, Israel would remember their corrupt past. Remember is zākar, which does not simply mean “to recall to mind,” but also “to acknowledge, take account of, accept responsibility for,” their conduct (dĕrākîm). They need to take responsibility for past sins before they can move forward.
For Ezekiel’s audience, they cannot blame the past generations or God for their misfortune. They need to own their sins and recognize their mistakes for what they were. God noted that they were provocative deeds (ʿălîlôt), self- defiling (niṭmāʾ), evil actions (rāʿôt), and corrupt, or vile, deeds (nišḥātôt). If Yahweh acts on the nation’s behalf, it is in spite of, rather than because of, the people’s actions. It is because God is a merciful God. Even when they don’t deserve it, God still gave them another chance.
Another thing is that the memory of this repugnant past must evoke the Israelites’ abhorrence. This memory must result in intense self-loathing. In other words, the Israelites need to have a clear picture of what they did. There is no room for pride or for excuses. They need to humble themselves and acknowledge this shameful past.
Finally, Israel shall recognize Yahweh for who He is — faithful to His covenant oaths (Ezek. 20:42). His actions are motivated by a concern for His glory, even if they get nothing of what they deserve. The grace of God is unmerited. However, God is not only giving grace, He is giving restoration. Despite a long history of rebellion, Yahweh’s personal integrity would overcome his wrath.
Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.
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