God Glorified in His Dealings with His People Under Chastisement
Ezekiel 28:25, 26
Thus said the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered…

Thus saith the Lord God; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, etc. In bringing to a close the prophecies against the heathen nations which bordered upon the Holy Land, Ezekiel briefly outlines the glorious restoration of the people of God in contrast to the judgments which destroyed those nations. He also declares that he will be sanctified in his people in the sight of the nations. His dealings with his people who were in captivity would be of such a character as to promote his honor in the eyes of the nations who were cognizant of those dealings. Thus the subject is presented to us of God glorified in his treatment of his people under chastisement.

I. IN HIS CARE FOR THEM WHILE THEY ARE UNDER CHASTISEMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR SINS. Our text is itself an evidence of this care. They needed some strong encouragement to counteract "the despondency which was now, after the opening of the siege of Jerusalem, the most dangerous foe" which they had to contend against. God recognized their need, and the inspiring promises of the text were a contribution towards its supply. Moreover, his purpose to gather them again and restore them to their own land necessitated the exercise of care over them during their exile. We have reason to believe that when his people are under chastisement they are the objects of his special care. This is taught, in his holy Word, especially in Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver." In purifying silver from its dross "the refiner not only places his crucible on a hot fire, but heaps fire around and above it. Under this process it at first throws out a dark and offensive smoke, which, as the heat and its effects increase, becomes less offensive, until it altogether ceases, and the silver becomes beautifully white. The point of requisite purity and perfection is when the refiner sees his own likeness reflected in the silver. How admirably does this illustrate the gracious process by which, through means of affliction, our heavenly Father carries on the work of purification in the hearts of his children!" The refiner of silver keeps his eye steadily on the furnace, lest the silver should be injured by the intense heat, and that he may see when the process is complete; so the great Refiner watches over his children when they are passing through the cleansing fires of Divine chastisement. Here, then, is encouragement to the people of God in seasons of trial. God himself is graciously observing you. His eye is constantly and tenderly upon you. In this fact there is also vindication of the Divine honor in relation to the afflictions of his people.

II. IN HIS REMOVAL OF THE CHASTISEMENT WHEN IT HAS ACCOMPLISHED ITS PURPOSE. "Thus saith the Lord; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered," etc. (Ver. 25), When the object for which the covenant people were sent into captivity was achieved, he brought them together and reinstated them in the land which he gave to his servant Jacob, "In that furnace of affliction the national tendency to idolatry was burnt out of the national heart, never to reappear;" and then they were delivered out of the furnace. In their restoration to their own land the nations would see that the Lord had not cast them off or forsaken them. "For the Lord will not cast off forever. For though he cause grief," etc. (Lamentations 3:31-33). Moreover, in that restoration there was a manifestation of the faithfulness, power, and goodness of the Lord to his people. Faithfulness in his remaining true to them and to his engagements to them, notwithstanding their former long-continued unfaithfulness to him. "If we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself." Power in his controlling the hearts and actions of men for the accomplish; meat of his purposes in relation to his people. And goodness in dealing with them so graciously, notwithstanding their ill desert. Thus would the Lord God be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations; And still he speedily removes the chastisements of his people when they have effected the purpose for which they were inflicted.

"Praise him still the same forever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless."

III. IN HIS RESTORATION OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY TO THEM. "And they shall dwell securely therein; yea, they shall build houses, and plant vineyards," etc. (Ver. 26). "As we have seen that the prophecies against the heathen reached, not merely to the particular nations, but to the world-power which they represented; as the same predictions are directed against Tyre by Ezekiel, against Babylon by Isaiah, and against the Apocalyptic Babylon by St. John; so this prophecy reaches far beyond a mere temporal restoration. It points to times of more permanent security, when from all nations and kingdoms the Church of Christ, the Israel of God, shall be gathered in, when the power of the world shall be for ever broken, and the kingdom of Christ shall be established forever" ('Speaker's Commentary'). Two blessings are particularly mentioned by the prophet.

1. Safety. "They shall dwell securely." Israel was not free from enemies and molestations after their return from captivity. Delivered from idolatry, yet their evil hearts broke out into other forms of sin; and distresses followed transgressions. Christian believers are not exempted from either enemies or trials. Yet we may say that "believers always dwell safely under the Divine protection, and may be quiet from the fear of evil." For "if God is for us, who is against us? In all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us" (Romans 8:31, 37; Hebrews 13:6; 1 Peter 3:13).

2. Prosperity. "They shall build houses, and plant vineyards, and dwell securely." These operations denote the return of prosperity to the people. And it is certain that at times they flourished considerably in their condition and circumstances. There is evidence of this in the sumptuous houses which they built for themselves. (cf. Haggai. ). In thus dealing with his people also the Lord would "be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations." But the text points onward to blessings yet in store for the Israel of God. Seasons of unprecedented power and prosperity await the Church in the future, when men everywhere shall know and acknowledge the Lord God. "All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14:21). "In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth," etc. (Philippians 2:10, 11). And in the heavenly Canaan shall be enjoyed the complete triumph, and the undisturbed peace, and the deep, eternal joy.

"And the temple again shall be built,
And filled as it was of yore
And the burden be lift from the heart of the world,
And the nations all adore
Prayers to the throne of heaven
Morning and eve shall rise,
And unto, and not of the Lamb
Shall be the sacrifice."

(P. J. Bailey.) W.J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.

WEB: Thus says the Lord Yahweh: When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations, then shall they dwell in their own land which I gave to my servant Jacob.

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