This week sees the conclusion to our sermon series entitled ‘Life Reboot’. Preaching by Nathan Gordon. Service led by Nathan Gordon. This service includes a believer’s baptism.
We have now arrived at the final sermon in January and the finale of our Life Reboot series. According to a recent online poll of 2,000 adults, almost two-thirds believe maintaining their new year’s resolutions will be even harder this year. We often use the phrase “He or She is off to a great start or maybe a terrible start” and perhaps you are pondering in your heart this morning that 2023 has not started the way you would have hoped.
This morning through God’s word we are going to see the splendor of God’s divine grace and mercy that offers hope even amid a bad start. Whether the bad start is down to our own decisions or whether it was something beyond our control. Regardless of your start to 2023, there is hope in God’s word to revive, replenish, and restore!
Context of Ezekiel 36 & 37
Today’s passage highlights the grace and mercy of God to bring restoration and renewal even in the most dire of situations. Israel had plundered into a self-imposed meltdown as they were taken out of their land and chastised at the hands of the Babylonians. Israel through their disobedience had closed their ears to the voice and direction of God. Even their leaders had become evil and the prophets would even prophecy lies to the people in the name of Jehovah.
Hope in the midst of despair!
Despite Israel’s captivity and judgment God through his love and patience would allow Ezekiel to see a wonderful vision of hope and restoration for Israel’s future.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
– Ezekiel 36:33-35
Whatever you are facing 4 weeks into a new year be encouraged God can turn the waste areas into a beautiful garden! Don’t give up on God or life because just like Israel God will never give up on us.
So, how can we navigate a way forward from the frustrations of a bad start? How can we move forward with hope and not despair?
Recognize the need for divine clarity. – v3
- Ezekiel simply directed the question back to God
- In our humanity it may appear there is no hope in our various situations but it’s important to allow God to have the final say
Challenge – On paper, your situation may look bleak, but allow God the right to pronounce His verdict. What seems impossible with humanity is always possible with God.
Receive the right recovery plan. – v4-6
- A lack of hope can cause people to look for temporary coping mechanisms. However, such vices only lead to more frustration and confusion.
- The Lord with precise intentionality laid out a step-by-step process of recovery for Israel.
Challenge – Overthinking our problems can lead to a lack of hope in our lives. It’s important to remember God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Trust in the Lord and allow Him to direct our paths forward. (Pro 3:5-6)
Recover the power to start again. – v7-14
- However bad the start of 2023 may appear through the Grace of God we always have enough to stand up and walk again.
- The bones coming together again was a sign of what was to come for Israel. They would be restored to full spiritual health with a heart o please God.
- If we lose everything we have, as long as we have God, we have enough to start all over again.
Challenge – Just like Israel which would inevitably receive restoration there is still good news and hope for the entire world. However far someone may have fallen, or dire the situation may appear. God can turn things around for His glory and our good.
Christ is building His kingdom with the earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, and the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.J.R. Miller