Ezekiel 47

Scripture

Ezekiel 47:22

You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.

Observation – What does it say?

As the book that bears his name nears the end, one thing is abundantly clear for this Priest turned Prophet.  Whether it is oracles against Israel, oracles against the nations or the consolation for Israel, God’s sovereignty extends over all creation.  The vision of a restored Israel (chapters 40-48) includes an epic life-nurturing flow of water that is from God himself.  In this setting the angelic guide begins to instruct the prophet on how to distribute the land among the tribes of Israel. And it is here we find in verse 22 a gracious inclusion of the non-Israelites who settled in the land. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

“…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”  Isaiah 56:7b

In 1982 country singer Willie Nelson was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.  On it was the hit song, “Always On My Mind.”  The sentiment of this love song was captured in the word “maybe.”  Maybe it appeared that I didn’t love you or hold you as I should.  And, maybe there were little things I should have said and done, but, “You were always on my mind.”  By no means am I suggesting that the song is allegorical. It is tempting to dismiss the alien (non-Israelite) who is living in the land from the restoration of Israel. After all, “the Old Testament is about Israel, right?” Verse 22 assures the reader that the alien was always on God’s mind.  Israel was chosen and set apart to be a light to the nations.  As believers grafted into the vine of Israel we are to be the same light to the nations as well.  Our commission is to know God and to make him known.  Remember, God’s sacrifice of his Son Jesus was to satisfy the penalty for the sins of the entire world – all who would draw near and believe. This is the Good News of John 3:16 being foreshadowed here in the book of Ezekiel. 

Life Application

The next time I get a little high and mighty as one of God’s children may I recall that I was once an alien, a foreigner, lost without any hope of restoration to God.  “But God!”  He has allotted me an inheritance that is not to be hidden under the bed but shared whenever, were ever and to whomever the Holy Spirit would lead.  I praise God for the extravagant inclusion that characterizes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved, He gave.  I believed, I received. 

-Warren Vivian

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