22Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.
25I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.27I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:22-28
How best do we glorify God?
I can’t remember the when and the where but I once heard a guy answer this question very simply – “We glorify God when we live our lives in such a way that God looks good to the world.”
The more I thought about it, the more I liked that answer. The more times I remember hearing people berate God because of the behaviors of the godly, the more I like the idea that we glorify God when we live our lives in such a way that God looks good to the world.
But that isn’t easy. Especially if we think we can do it on our own. We can’t. There is always going to be too much “us” in the way. If we are truly going to glorify God, we are going to need a heart transplant. We need to decrease, so God can increase.
Fortunately, God knows that about us and God has prepared a way for us. God has taken matters into God’s own hands. Read closely again this passage from Ezekiel. Circle the capital letter “I” every time it appears. What do you see then?
You see God doing for Israel what Israel cannot do for itself. Israel has been chosen to represent God’s name in the world and they have bungled the job. Just as we do. But God didn’t choose Israel for Israel’s sake, God chose Israel for the sake of the world. Just as God has chosen us for the sake of the world.
So God is going to do a holy makeover. God is going to restore Israel, replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. God is going to clean them up and set their new hearts on a new path of obedience. God is going to do what would happen in the hearts of the disciples of Jesus after the resurrection – they would be given new life. In all of that, and in the life that follows, God will be glorified.
Let us pray: Be glorified in us, O Lord. As we seek forgiveness, as we work toward reconciliation, as we do our daily work, as we seek neither to be above nor to bow before any other people, may those around us see the beating heart of love that you are birthing in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.