1. Why was the heathen around Israel going to bear shame at the fury of the Lord?
Because they mocked Israel when Israel had been made a desolation: “(1) Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD: (2) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: (3) Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people: (4) Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about; (5) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. (6) Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: (7) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame” (Ezekiel 36:1-7).
- Before this, the message was against the mountains (Ezekiel 6:2-3 and Ezekiel 33:28).
- Mountains had long been places wherein idolatry was practiced (Deuteronomy 12:2 and Isaiah 65:7).
- The mountain of the Lord represents the hope of salvation (Isaiah 2:2-3 and Micah 4:1-2).
- Mountains had become a choice place to worship (John 4:20).
- Salvation is not in hills or mountains (Jeremiah 3:23).
- The enemy had rejoiced against them. The big message is, don’t rejoice if thine enemy falls (Proverbs 24:17-18).
- “Aha”, this has been discussed before (Ezekiel 25:3; cf. Psalms 70:2-3).
- Their claim of the high places was actually a claim to have taken what once belonged to the Lord in their estimation (Ezekiel 35:10).
- The desolation was a result of their transgressions, but the Lord hated seeing it have to happen (Jeremiah 9:9-11 and Jeremiah 25:1-11).
- The enemy rejoicing brought forth the jealousy of the Lord (Ezekiel 39:25, Joel 2:18, and Nahum 1:2).
- The desolate land could take comfort in, the heathen would be bear their shame (Psalms 46:1-11 and Psalms 94:1-15).
2. What consolations were given regarding the mountains of Israel?
The mountains would again be fruitful, inhabited, settled, would no more see men devoured upon them, and shame would be removed from them: “(8) But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. (9) For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: (10) And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: (11) And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (12) Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. (13) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; (14) Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD. (15) Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 36:8-15).
- Mountains are not living beings that hear anything. The point of this is really made to the people of Israel whom had perverted their mountains (again; Ezekiel 6:3).
- It is to get them to consider that the mountains were for a purpose and that purpose would be restored (Amos 9:13-15).
- These mountains had seen the idols destroyed upon them along with those practicing such idolatry (Ezekiel 6:13).
- The big message here is that the people of God would be restored and fruitful again within this land given to them (Zechariah 8:12) as had happened in the past (Isaiah 37:31-32).
- This was the desire of the faithful (Psalms 80:7-19).
- Peace would be restored to the land rather than violence (Ezekiel 37:25-28).
3. Who profaned the Lord’s name among the heathen and was the Lord willing to show pity upon those people?
The house of Israel profaned the Lord’s name among the heathen and He was willing to show pity to them: “(16) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (17) Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. (18) Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: (19) And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. (20) And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. (21) But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went” (Ezekiel 36:16-21).
- Now we arrive at the clarity of our context. ISRAEL had polluted their own land (Jeremiah 2:7 and Jeremiah 16:18).
- Here is the kicker, the Lord had long ago cast out those whom had defiled the land Israel inherited (Leviticus 18:25-30).
- God had pity on them (Isaiah 60:10 and Lamentations 3:22).
- Within this statement however, is a reminder that they had polluted His holy name among the heathen (Ezekiel 20:39). A follower of the Lord’s erring conduct can lead to people blaspheming God and His word (Proverbs 14:31, Isaiah 37:17, Isaiah 37:23, II Samuel 11:1-12:14, Romans 2:24, I Timothy 6:1, and Titus 2:3-5).
4. For whose sake was the Lord pitiful?
For His own name’s sake: “(22) Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went… (32) Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel” (Ezekiel 36:22; 36:32).
- God was through with allowing His name to be polluted (Ezekiel 39:7).
- Now, His actions were to protect His name (II Kings 19:34, Isaiah 48:9, Ezekiel 20:9, Ezekiel 20:14, Ezekiel 20:22, and Ezekiel 20:44).
5. How was the Lord going to sanctify His great name and cause His people to no more be a reproach of famine among the heathen?
By restoring them to their land, cleansing them from their sins, creating a new heart within them, and giving His spirit within them: “(23) And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. (25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (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. (29) I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. (30) And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen” (Ezekiel 36:23-30).
- See: Ezekiel 11:17-20
- There was always going to be a remnant (II Kings 19:30-31, Isaiah 1:9, Isaiah 10:20-22, Jeremiah 23:3, Romans 9:27, and Romans 11:1-5).
- He would give them a new heart to be His people (Jeremiah 24:1-10). For more consideration on the new heart and spirit, consider the wording of Ezekiel 18:30-32.
- Lest one miss the point, understand that giving them a heart is NOT to be understood as God taking away their choice on obedience (Deuteronomy 30:1-20).
6. Once restored, what would Israel remember and do with that remembrance?
“Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations” (Ezekiel 36:31).
- This message is reoccurring (Ezekiel 6:9, Ezekiel 16:61-63, and Ezekiel 20:36-43).
- It happened (Ezra 9:1-10:17).
- The mindset of hating one’s self is part of the repentance process (Job 42:1-6, Jeremiah 31:19, and I Timothy 1:12-16).
7. How would “they” know whom the Lord was?
When He restored His people and their land from desolation to become like Eden and when His people would be increased again: “(33) 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. (34) And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. (35) And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. (36) Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. (37) Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. (38) As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 36:33-38).
- The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are the fulfillments of these promises.
- Jeremiah wrote of this too (Jeremiah 33:10-13).
- After that fulfillment, the next promise was the coming of Christ (Jeremiah 33:14-18).