“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Thoughts from Pastor Brian
Behind the Scenes
You know when you get so cold that your muscles tighten up, your jaws clench, and you shake uncontrollably? If you live in a place that has winter, it’s likely you’ve experienced this before. You kind of roll up as tight as you can, trying to get as much of your own body heat working as possible, but you just shiver and go stiff. If you’re like me, everything tightens up so much it actually hurts. Your body is stiff, and your mind is unthinking. You try to move to warm up, but really, you’re just too cold. You’re frozen…like a rock.
That’s how I picture the heart of stone in this passage. Cold, rigid, unmoving, unwilling and maybe unable to change. So wrapped in self, rebellion, pride, and fear that it is as hard as a rock. In Chapter 36 verse 26, Ezekiel is talking to the nation of Israel. They had become so hard and unwilling to change in their evil ways that God allowed them to be carried off by the nation of Babylon. They were living in exile; Jerusalem had been burned to the ground, everything, including their beloved, holy temple was gone. No doubt they were saddened and living in despair. In fact, the entire book of Ezekiel up to this point talks of the bad that will befall the nation of Israel, including the destruction of their temple.
But in this chapter, things change. Ezekiel starts to talk of a new heart. The coming of a new spirit in them. IN them. This must have sounded strange to the people, as only the prophets and priests had the spirit of God in them, and even then, only intermittently. Not living in them daily, 24/7. But that is exactly what God showed Ezekiel would happen. The people of Israel would get a new heart and a new spirit.
Make it Real
Ezekiel prophecies to Israel about the coming Holy Spirit. God’s own Spirit living in them – in US. And you know what’s so cool about this? God not only gives us a new heart, but He removes the old. Like when you get new carpet. They come in, and they begin ripping it up piece by piece by piece – gradually replacing all the old ugly carpet with beautiful new flooring. It takes time and a lot of effort, but in time, you end up with something that looks brand new.
In the same way, God reaches in and grabs that old, rigid, frozen heart – the one that can’t warm itself up – and takes it away piece by piece by piece. We have to allow Him into all of those dark places, and it takes time, and it takes effort. He disposes of all the pieces as He takes them and replaces them with new ones. Clean and fresh. And eventually we end up with a beautiful new heart, one that is fleshly and malleable. One that can move and feel and love. One that is empowered by His Holy Spirit. All we have to do is allow Him to do His work…
So, here’s my question for you – what’s keeping you out in the cold? What fear or pride or rebellion is keeping you from surrendering to the warmth of God’s love and merely accepting the new heart He has for you, one made of flesh and not stone? What is keeping you from asking for the power of His Holy Spirit to come and change your heart?
End in Prayer
Break through my heart of stone. Show me where I am frozen and rigid and where I need to surrender to You. Help me to surrender to Your love and accept the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to walk with my new heart in all that You would call me to do. Thank you God for providing Your Spirit to guide me and give me strength when I want to walk away to the things of this world. Thank you that Your ways are always better and for loving me enough to do all the work.
In Jesus’ name,