I Am the Lord
“And you shall know that I am the LORD …
Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
I recently read back through the book of Ezekiel and was struck by how many times these two phrases are repeated. One phrase or the other is spoken by the Lord at least fifty-five times in the book! It’s clearly the major drive of Ezekiel’s ministry to awaken the people of Israel, again, to the reality of the LORD.
The warnings have a definite pattern and progression. They begin with the sobering declarations that the people will come face to face with the reality of the Lord when He brings crushing judgment upon them for their sin and rebellion, “Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence. I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. I will put an end to the pride of the strong, and their holy places shall be profaned … and they shall know that I am the LORD” (7:23-24, 27c). The Scriptures speak often of sin and judgment because God is holy and will not forebear forever His righteous judgment toward rebellion. There always comes a time when the patience of the Lord has been poured out, and unbelief results in the wicked recognizing the reality of the Lord too late – after final judgment has fallen.
Next there is the purifying and separating work of the Lord. The Lord is Himself at work saving and restoring His people, as we will see, for His glory among the nations. Ezekiel speaks of all the people being like dross, an impure mixture of metals. To this the Lord speaks, “I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you” 22:21-22. The people will come face to face with the reality of the Lord as He brings holy discipline into their lives to curb their sin and turn them away from rebellion. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but in the end yields the fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:3-11). The Lord always disciplines those He loves, treating them as true children.
Next, the Lord goes beyond discipline, speaking of the New Covenant of grace He will one day establish with this rebellious people. “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules … Then they will know that I am the Lord” (36:26-27, 38b). The unconditional love of the Lord is astounding. These beautiful words are spoken to a nation of people that are idolatrous, sexually immoral, violent, greedy, and proud. But in all their sin, the Lord has chosen them and loves them. Because the Lord lives and is sovereign over the affairs of humanity, He is able to change hearts and make them new. Even while they were enemies toward the Lord, He had a plan to redeem them!
Last, there is the glory of the name of the Lord. The Lord will not allow His name to be blasphemed and dishonored forever. “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel” (39:7). The redemption action of the Lord radically and totally changes our lives, but the redemption is not ultimately about us, it is for the glory of the Lord! When the world sees a people restored that should be wiped out, it reflects on what they hope in. Our hope must be in the Lord our God.
Where are you in your heart today? Do you believe the Lord of the Bible is real? What will it take for you to believe? Will you die in your unbelief? Will you be separated out from the dross by the fire of the Lord, but instead of being set aside as silver, be burned up with the dross? Or will you turn from your sins and be spared the discipline of the Lord? Will you believe in the reality of the Lord and rejoice over His promise of grace and mercy? May you be a person that goes out to proclaim the glory of Jesus as Lord to the nations!
May you know that the Lord is God,