In our Ezekiel passage we see God's promise to use the surrounding nations to punish Israel in judgment, that He would also judge those pagan nations, and that Israel would eventually be restored.
And the reason for all of this? For the sake of His glory, for the sake of His holy name.
God was concerned with the salvation of His own people, but also the salvation of the entire world. He could not allow His people to remain in sin, nor could He allow them to be permanently destroyed as that would send the message that pagan gods were more powerful the God. God will not share His glory with anyone. And as His people, we are responsible to represent God properly to the rest of the world - what an awesome responsibility!
In order to do this, we need a new heart and we need His Spirit within us, empowering us to do His will. This amazing transformation is only possible through Jesus Christ and His work on our behalf. We can have our sins washed away, we can have a new heart, we can receive His Spirit within us - when we put our hope, faith, and trust in His Son.
But when we do so, our NT passage confirms, others will hate us. We saw this demonstrated very clearly this past week when Christians at a community college were singled out for their faith and killed upon their declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. May we have that same boldness to stand firm for Jesus no matter the cost.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 37-39; John 18:1-18