The people had lost hope. The land of Israel was their proof of God's faithfulness to them. It was their proof of what God was going to do, and what God had done. In the Old Testament, it was more than just "land" it was touchable, tangible evidence of God's promise to them.
And now, in Ezekiel, it's gone. They are in exile and the land is God. So, God must have forsaken them, right? God must have given up on them, right? There must be no reason to hope, right?
No. God says, I will restore. I will bring back. I will be true to my word. I will bring you back to the land and be true to the promises I have made you. So will He today. He will be true to His promises, and He will be true to you. Trust in Him. No matter what's going on in your life, it's not over. God is not done. He will be true to His promises.
New Testament Lesson
Hebrews reminds us today that perfection is not reachable through the law. It's not attainable through our own efforts. We can't make ourselves good enough. We can't obey enough laws.
It's not about any of that. It's about Jesus and what He's done. We can't make ourselves good enough to be loved by God. We don't have to. God simply loves us. We don't have to earn it. Because of Jesus, it's freely given. We don't have to do enough; be perfect; be sinless; be or do ANYTHING. Today, in this moment, you are loved. Today, in this moment, you are of a sacred worth.
Live out of that. Live in the truth of that. You are a child of God today! Live out of that knowledge!
Jesus tells them today, don't rejoice over the things you've done. Rejoice over the face that you mine and that you're part of my family. If Hebrews reminds us to not get too down over the things we've done wrong, Jesus reminds us not to get too "up" over the things we've done right.
We are not loved by God because we do good things. God is not mad at us when we do by things (He is hurt, though, these things break His heart). None of us are perfect and none of us can earn it. It's simply given. Our response to that love is to love God and love each other.
And rejoice. For, we have been given that gift that is priceless. The knowledge of Gods' love towards us. Today, live like a forgiven child of God!