Wednesday, September 19, 2012

an end to idolatry

And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 28:24

God reveals His purpose in executing judgment on the pagan nations that were the historic enemies of the people of Israel. No more would these sinful influences draw away the hearts of His covenant people into idolatry. He would remove the irritating, damaging, and destructive element by leveling the nations around Israel. This sets the scene for the return of the Jews to the Promised Land.

Once the nations around Israel have been silenced and weakened, the people can return to the land. And that is the promise at the end of the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. God would restore the people to their land to live in safety and blessing. He would bring his people back to enjoy the blessings of the covenant and to delight in Him. They would return to home, to God's blessings, without the threat of pagan temptation to idolatry.

And true to His promises, this is exactly what occurred with Israel. The Jews returned to the land after 70 years of captivity. And the post-exile Israelites never again were marked by rampant idolatry. They were faithful and serious in their obligation to keep covenant with God. The nations immediately around them were not agents of envy or the evil that they once were.

The Jews were still threatened by outside powers... the Greeks and Romans would subjugate them... but never again would internal or external pressure turn them from God to worship idols. God did His good work in justice to Israel and Judah and the nations around them.

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