“‘This is what the Lord God says: Certainly in my burning zeal I speak against the rest of the nations and all of Edom, who took my land as their own possession with wholehearted rejoicing and utter contempt so that its pastureland became plunder. Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: This is what the Lord God says: Look, I speak in my burning zeal because you have endured the insults of the nations. Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: I swear that the nations all around you will endure their own insults.
“‘You, mountains of Israel, will produce your branches and bear your fruit for my people Israel, since their arrival is near. Look! I am on your side; I will turn toward you, and you will be tilled and sown. I will fill you with people, with the whole house of Israel in its entirety. The cities will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will fill you with people and animals, and they will increase and be fruitful. I will make you inhabited as you once were and make you better off than you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk on you; they will possess you, and you will be their inheritance. You will no longer deprive them of their children.'”
Ezekiel lived from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem into the time of the exile. He was part of the Jews exiled, himself, and lived much of his life in exile. His prophecies ranged from judgments on Judah before they fell to Babylon to punishments on the nations surrounding Israel as they gloated over its demise. The current passage was part of a section intended to bring comfort to Israel that they would return to their homeland someday.
This particular prophecy was directed at the land of Israel, specifically the mountains. In addition to the people, the land had suffered much under occupation. As the Israelites were taken away from their homes and property, other nations entered in to plunder what they could from the land. They claimed it as their own possession and spoke contempt toward Yahweh for leaving the land unprotected. God would not leave this contempt unpunished. He would carry out His judgment against the nations that had taken advantage of the exile of Israel for their own selfishness. The tables would turn against these other nations.
God’s promise to the land of Israel was that it would not be left desolate forever. The people of Israel would return and bring life to it again. Agriculture would resume in the land. Cities that lay in ruins would be rebuilt. God’s promise is that the land will be better off than it was before.
Often when we experience setbacks in life, there are those who will swoop in and try to take advantage of our situation. They may brag about their own success or speak ill of us and the circumstances we find ourselves in. God’s response is to promise restoration to us. His heart is to see us experience His goodness in its fullest and he promises to make things better than they were before our time of trial.
- In those times when we feel beaten down, Lord, help us to trust you for restoration.