I Will, will you?
This is God speaking, and when He says, “I will”, nothing can hinder Him, except what He allows.
And in His people, which should know and believe Him; He allows their unbelief to hinder His works.
And why does He allow this?
Hebrews 3:10,12 “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
For unbelief is departing from the living God.
The example I want to talk about is in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel is an interesting prophet. Exiled with many of Judah’s people in the second captivity under Nebuchadnezzar (there were three times people were taken away.), Ezekiel’s ministry was:
To tell the captives the reason of their captivity.
He tells them of their forsaking of God, and the terrible iniquity that was still going on in Judah and Jerusalem. He tells them that God will judge Judah, destroying the Temple, and the kingdom, because of their continued wickedness.
Ezekiel 33:28-29 “For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed.”
And he encouraged the captives to accept the chastening of the Lord, and build houses and take care of their families.
To do the commandments of the Lord, till God was pleased to bring them back into the land.
For after God had chastened them, He would remember His covenant with Abraham, and bring them back.
Ezekiel 36:28 “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.”
This is a great promise, for it deals not just with the outward inheritance, but the inward heart.
Ezekiel 36: 32-36 “Not for your sakes do I do this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord God; in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the wastes and the desolate and ruined cities become fenced, and are inhabited.
Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruin places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”
“I have spoken it, and I will do it.” But it would not be for their sakes, for God was looking at His covenant with Abraham.
It was not a matter of merit. But God would do it, for His Word’s sake.
This should have caused the people to praise God, and pray for it in gratitude and love.
To get right with God, and seek the good of their brethren.
But what did they do?
Ezekiel 36:37 “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them,…”
They did nothing.
God had promised. He would do it. And then: Forget about it, till we actually see it.
Not the “I don’t believe in God”, unbelief.
But the “I will believe, only when I see it”, unbelief.
For unbelief is departing from the living God.
Ezekiel spoke and warned them that God required righteousness from them. To do what they, as His people, should do, even in a foreign land.
Not for merit, but to show their belief in Him, as their God.
(Ezekiel 33:14-15 “…if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statues of life, with out committing iniquity; he shall surely live,…”)
They could pine away, wishing for better days; Or turn from their sins of idolatry and rebellion against God’s dealings, and “live”.
Again, and again Ezekiel spoke to them; but they mocked him. Listening, but still refusing to “hear and obey.”
Ezekiel 33:31-32 “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit thee before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”
God says, “I will”. And nothing can hinder God, but what He allows. And with His own people, who should know Him; He refuses to bless our unbelief (whatever kind it is).
He rebukes us, to get our attention, so we will hear His Word to us and live.
He chastens us, to awaken us to the seriousness of our way. To draw us back into the right way.
Real life is in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is by faith.
Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
Now let me ask you: Which really lived? Ezekiel or the people who “pined” away in their sins?
Ezekiel’s way was hard: he was mocked and rejected. But God was with him.
What do you consider “life” to you? Life with Christ Jesus? Or life here and now?
God says, “I will”. Will we believe Him, and live?