Way back in January, I decided to choose an audio program to help me listen to the whole Bible in a year. I chose the Bible in One Year 2019 plan in the YouVersion app on my phone. It includes a portion from Psalms or Proverbs, then a New Testament and Old Testament passage each day. I usually listen while I’m getting ready in the morning – putting on makeup, doing my hair, etc.
I’ve been in Ezekiel lately, and I’ll be honest, there are days it’s hard to focus. But one morning last week, I heard the following verse, and it caught my attention.
“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.” ~Ezekiel 36:36
The Israelites had been through some tough times. They mostly brought these difficulties on themselves because they followed false gods and refused to obey God’s commands. Yet in this passage, God promises to restore what has been lost.
While we live in a totally different culture than those Israelites, we, too, face troubling things – some of our own making, others not. So today, do you have any ruined places in your life? Are there parts of your life that feel desolate?
Maybe it’s a dream you’ve held on to for a long time that’s finally collapsed. Perhaps you’ve been hurt emotionally and are having a hard time recovering. It could be that some area of your life has been devastated and you don’t think it will ever be repaired. When you look around, there’s only a pile of rubble left.
What about desolate ground? Are there relationships that used to be sweet that aren’t anymore? Maybe a place where you used to be flourishing is now empty and barren. As you look ahead to 2020, your outlook is dreary and bleak. For some reason, you could feel isolated and abandoned.
If any of those thoughts resonate with you, do you know what we can find in this verse that Ezekiel penned?
God is the builder of ruined places. If it were left up to us, we’d only flounder around and make a bigger mess of things. But our all-wise God says that He will build the ruined places. And we know we can trust Him to do it well.
“Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” ~Psalm 3:2-3
Then I love the thought of God planting in ground that was seen as desolate. He can take what is abandoned and barren, and cause new life to grow. Will it be exactly what was growing there before? Maybe, maybe not. It could be even better. It could be that what was there before was not best for us. The old growth needed to be uprooted so that a new thing could grow.
“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” ~Lamentations 3:24
What God chooses to do is always as a testimony for His honor and glory. He rebuilt and replanted for the Israelites so that the heathen around them would know that He had done it.
If you’ve lost hope today, take heart. The God we serve can rebuild from the ruins, and make something that’s even more glorious. He can cause beautiful things to regrow from ground we thought could never be used again.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” ~Romans 15:13