I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your fetishes. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; I will put My spirit into you.
I like the idea of our growth in holiness being about a new heart. Sometimes we think of this as if our fleshly heart needs to be replaced with this holy, spiritual heart. Here in Ezekiel it tells us no such thing, what really needs to happen is the restoration of the fleshly, human heart, that was God’s intention for us.
Our hearts have become hearts of stone. We have ignored the plight of those who needed most, we have made idols of created things, of things of our own choosing, and we have become self centered. At each turn our hearts have become harder, they have lost their elasticity, their ability to beat, their ability to skip a beat at experiencing the beauty of the world.
The promise of God to people in exile is a new heart, a heart that we might not even recognize. This heart is the sign of the new spirit in us that allows us to reconnect with the created order and return home.
Although I have struggled with Ezekiel, these last few chapter have spoken of a needed return. The past can be renewed, the harlotry of the people can be forgiven, a new heart can be found, the land can be restored. All of these are images of a God who wants us, all of us, to return. A self giving God who promises to come into us and walk us home.
Thanks be to God!