September 12, 2021
"The Word of the Lord came to me: ‘Human being, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their manner of life and their actions..."
“The Word of the Lord came to me: ‘Human being, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their manner of life and their actions; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of menstrual impurity. Therefore, I poured out My fury on them, because of the blood that they had shed in the land and because they defiled it with their idols. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them throughout the countries. I judged them in keeping with their manner of life and their actions. When they came to the nations they were going to, they profaned My holy name; so that people said of them, “These are the Lord’s people, who have been exiled from his land.” But I am concerned about My holy name, which the house of Israel is profaning among the nations where they have gone.’” Ezekiel 36:16-21
Imagine a special dinner with the one you love. You spend months planning and saving up. Then, the day comes. You arrive at the restaurant and are escorted to their finest table. You think to yourself, “This couldn’t be better!” Then a family is seated at the next table. That’s when you meet the most annoying child ever! An uncontrollable child pretty much ruins any event. Israel had become God’s “brat” among the nations.
I have four children, so my wife and I have first-hand experience with “brattiness.” One thing to understand about a brat is that the blame for the child’s behavior doesn’t always go to the parents. Believe it or not, some kids are simply strong-willed and would be brats even if raised by Mother Theresa! Obviously, God does not need “coaching” so as to improve His parenting skills. God Himself called Israel a “stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 32:9; Acts 7:51) And Jesus expressed a similar sentiment, communicating that He wanted to gather Israel as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but they would not listen. (Luke 19:13-34-35)
Sometimes, we get so fed up with our kids that we tell them to go outside and play. We love them, but their proximity and bratty attitudes grate our nerves so much that we are literally protecting them by sending them out! But suppose, if while the kids are outside, they continue being brats, to the point where we have to bring them back inside the house, just to protect our family’s reputation and our Christian witness in the neighborhood! When we bring our kids back into the house, in such a situation, we would not be rewarding them for any change of attitude. We would simply be protecting the neighborhood from our super brats!! This was the case with Israel’s expulsion and return from exile. Could this scenario be repeated today with the “brats” among those who claim to be God’s children through Jesus? Why not? Just because God is working around us doesn’t mean He is pleased with us or isn’t working despite us.
“Therefore, tell the house of Israel that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘I am not going to do this for your sake, house of Israel, but for the sake of My holy Name, which you have been profaning among the nations where you went. I will set apart My great name to be regarded as holy, since it has been profaned in the nations – you profaned it among them. The nations will know that I am Adonai,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘when before their eyes, I am set apart through you to be regarded as holy.’” Ezekiel 36:22-23