Thus said the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby you shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel…
The prophet was locking forward to the restoration of his fellow-countrymen to the land given by God to their fathers. The temple and all that concerns its services and ministrations having been described, Ezekiel naturally turns in the next place to picture the repossessed and apportioned inheritances. There are difficulties in interpreting this passage relating to the territories given to the several tribes; but there can be no doubt that the prophet foretold the renewed occupation of the soil by the descendants of Abraham. It seems probable that all the while Ezekiel had in his mind the spiritual Israel of which the chosen people were the type. There is an inheritance for the whole Israel of God.
I. A DIVINELY APPOINTED INHERITANCE. Whatever are the possessions and privileges of God's people, this is certain, that they are the gift of God's goodness. What have we that we did not receive? All things are of God. If we as Christians have entered upon a heritage of knowledge, of liberty, of purity, of peace, this is because the Lord has dealt bountifully with us.
II. AN ESPECIAL INHERITANCE FOR EACH. In the settlement of the tribes in the Holy Land nothing was left to accident or to ambition; the lot of each tribe was marked out by Divine appointment. All Christians may appropriate the language of the psalmist, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." To one the great Head of the Church assigns an inheritance of conflict; to another, an inheritance of peace. One section of the Church is distinguished for its thinkers; another, for its workers. But each has his own ministry and responsibility, and it becomes each to be content and to refrain from envying the lot of another.
III. A SUFFICIENT INHERITANCE FOR ALL. Palestine, though comparatively a small country, was large enough to contain all the tribes. In the Church of Christ there is abundant accommodation and provision for all the members of that Church. "All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." There is no limitation to the Divine resources or to the Divine liberality.
IV. A PERPETUAL INHERITANCE. Israel retained possession of the laud of promise for generations, for centuries; but that possession, nevertheless, came to an end. In this respect, there is a contrast between the temporal and the spiritual inheritance. None of God's people can ever be dispossessed from God's favor, or deprived of the privileges which are secured to them by the faithful promises of God. Those promises have respect, not to time only, but to eternity. Theirs is an "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus saith the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions.