Ezekiel 36:23-31 (CEB)
This is what the Lord God says:
When I make myself holy among you in their sight,
I will take you from the nations,
I will gather you from all the countries.
I will bring you to your own fertile land.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be cleansed of all your pollution.
I will cleanse you of all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
I will remove your stony heart from your body and replace it with a living one.
I will give you my spirit so that you may walk according to my regulations and carefully observe my case laws.
Then you will live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, you will be my people, and I will be your God.
I will save you from all your uncleanness.
I will summon the grain and make it grow abundantly so that you won’t endure famine.
I will make abundant the orchards’ fruit and the fields’ produce so that you will never again endure the shame of famine among the nations.
Then you will remember your evil ways and no-good deeds, and you will feel disgust for yourselves because of your sinful and detestable practices.
I think the Bible is super cool. It's because I can be a nerd - not because I am a Super Christian.
The beautiful thing about the Bible is that God can take a story written by a human being thousands of years ago and use it to speak to people in 2018.
I guess that's what they call inspiration - God has breathed life into words and stories.
This passage in Ezekiel 36 gets me every time. These words come at a time when God's people - Israel - are wildin' out and actin' a fool in the world.
They are exploiting others, only looking out for themselves, and slandering God's name through not taking care of land and worshipping idols.
Israel was called to represent the person and character of God - to show the world what God is truly like.
Instead, they went out to other nations and made their God look like a joke.
So what does God say to that?
Does He say that He is going to destroy them?
Does He say that He is going to punish them?
Does He say that He is done with them?
He says that He is going to bring His people back to their land.
He says that He will purify His people.
He says that He will give His people a brand new, living heart.
He says that He will put His spirit in that heart.
He says that He will give in abundance.
The Hebrews believed that there were four elements that made up the chemistry of the world. So imagine a periodic table, but with only 4 elements.
These elements were earth, water, wind, and fire.
If something was stone, it was said to be made of earth.
If something was made of Earth, it couldn't be alive.
This means that the impurity of their hearts made their hearts dead due to their own choices and circumstances.
Instead of abandoning the people their impure hearts, God decides to give them new life and His Spirit to help them.
In essence, God gives His people a heart transplant and a gift.
And I think He wants to do the same for us.
God is not done with you.
God is not about to punish you.
God does want to bring you home.
God does want to purify you.
And God does want to give you new life.
Will you let Him give you a heart transplant?
A while ago, I read a story about a man who received a heart transplant from a teenage boy. (You can read one record of the story here)
After getting a new heart, the man started craving onion rings for the first time in His life.
So, he started eating onion rings.
Later, the man got to meet the family of the teenager who donated the heart.
The family began to talk about their son and all the awesome things about him.
Then, they stopped and said, "You know, his absolute favorite food was Burger King Onion Rings."
See, when God gives us a heart transplant, we begin to crave the same things that God craves.
Furthermore, when we have been given God's heart and His Spirit is in that heart, we are free to follow and trust that heart.
Maybe that's why you hear people say, "God was putting something on my heart."
Christians who are pure in heart can learn to listen to, and trust the cravings of their heart, because they know who put it there