In chapters 35 and 36, we once again see God condemning the nations around Judah for celebrating Jerusalem’s fall. He first directs his judgment against Edom for harboring hostility, jealousy, and anger against the people of Judah and for trying to take advantage of the Israelites plight.
But then he tells the people of Israel that all the nations around them that were celebrating in their fall would be judged, while Israel itself would be restored.
But as we have seen before, this would not be because the people were deserving of restoration. Rather, it was solely because of God’s grace towards them. It wasn’t because of who they were that God restored them, but because of who God is. His name was blasphemed by the nations because he had allowed Jerusalem to fall. But in restoring Israel, he would show the nations the kind of God he was. A powerful God. An awesome God. A God who does exactly what he says he will. And a God who can not only punish, but restore. A God not only of wrath, but of forgiveness. Through Israel, God said, all would come to know that he alone is the Lord.
How would God do this? He would do this by doing what no other god can. Change the human heart. He said,
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (36:25-27)
God does the same with us. Though we’ve turned our backs on God and gone our own way, he saves us, not because of who we are but because of who he is. Not because of what we’ve done, but because of what he’s done.
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
What can we get from this? None of us are too far gone to be saved. Though we have fallen, God can still save us. He doesn’t save us because we are good people. Truly good people would never have to be saved in the first place. It is we who are sinners, who have walked away from God that need to be saved.
So if you’re feeling far from God, lost in your sin, all you need to do is turn to him. Ask for his forgiveness. And he will hear.
Lord, I’ve fallen away from you, and gone my own way. Now my life is a mess because of my sin. Please forgive me. Wash me. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. Put your Spirit within me that I may do what pleases you. Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. Please make me your child. In Jesus name, amen.