Concern For the Holiness of God’s Name

Our text is Ezekiel 36:22-23, but to get the whole scene we must read this verse in it’s context which begins in 36:16, so lets set the stage:

“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds. Their ways before me were like the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity. So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.”

Ezekiel prophesied to God’s people after they had been carried off in exile to Babylon. Ezekiel was himself one of those people carried off to exile with the rest of the people. In the first 24 chapters of the book Ezekiel points out that judgment has come to the people of God for their own sin, that exile has not occurred by chance, and that it is the judgment of God on His people for their rebellious hearts against His law and ways. From chapters 24-33 the focus changes a bit and rather than judging His own people for their rebellion God pronounces judgments on the nations around Israel for their refusal to obey Him. When we come to Ezekiel 33 God changes His tone. After pronouncing judgment in full on His own people and the nations surrounding them, we then see God promise restoration. Life will reign where only death has been present. God pour out His Spirit on His people, and the destroyed temple (the central symbol of God’s presence among His people) will be restored, and God will once again dwell with His people. But how will God do this? Why will God do this? When will God do this? All of these questions are answered in our text.

36:16-17 give us the reason God judged His people. While they lived in their own land they didn’t live as God would’ve wanted them to live, rather they lived how they wanted to live and therefore defiled the land they lived in by their wicked ways and deeds. God says there ways and deeds were utterly disgusting to Him that they were similar to the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity.

Therefore 36:18-19 give us the consequences of such living. 36:18 God says he poured out His wrath upon them and 36:19 says God scattered them among the nations. They had been bowing down to other gods, slaughtering other men/women/children to these gods and therefore filled their own land with blood.

Notice 36:20, God says that when His people got to the nations where He had driven them, His own name was profaned. How? The other nations saw Israelites streaming into their own land and concluded that God was not powerful enough to keep His own people in His land, so they mocked God. God responds in 36:21 by saying when He heard His name being mocked He “had concern for His holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.”

This concern for His name, would change everything.

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