Charles Simeon Commentary - Ezekiel 20:40 - 20:44

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Ezekiel 20:40 - 20:44


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DISCOURSE: 1109

RESTORATION OF THE JEWS, AND THE CONVERSION OF A SOUL, COMPARED

Eze_20:40-44. In mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will. I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first-fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God.

THE history of the Jews, whether retrospective or prospective, is extremely interesting; not only as abounding in events more wonderful than all the histories of the whole world beside, but particularly as illustrating the dealings of God with the souls of men, at the present day, and in all ages, to the very end of time. Of the retrospective part, such as their bringing out of Egypt, and their sojourning in the wilderness, and their introduction into the promised land, we shall have no occasion to speak at this time: but to the things predicted concerning them, all of which are as certain as if they were already past, and which therefore may be called their prospective history, we would now direct your attention, and especially with a view to illustrate from them the conversion of our souls to God.

Let me, then, point out,

I.       The effect which the restoration of the Jews will hereafter produce on them—

They shall assuredly be restored to God, and to their own land, in due season—

[“From all the countries, whither they have been driven, shall they be gathered:” and they shall, in their own land, be restored to the worship, and the favour, of their God — — — The terms in which their services are foretold, correspond with the ordinances which are prescribed by the Mosaic Law — — — But they are intended to express only that spiritual worship, which, under the Christian dispensation, we render unto God. These they will render from their inmost souls; and from God will they receive, as formerly, the most favourable tokens of his acceptance — — —]

The effects produced on them by their restoration will be truly blessed—

[They have been the most stiff-necked of any people; and even at this day are remarkable for the hardness of their hearts: but at that day they will be broken-hearted, and contrite in a very extraordinary degree. The recollection of their having “crucified the Lord of Glory” will pre-eminently lead to this [Note: Zec_12:10.]: and their views of their own extreme baseness will be exceeding deep [Note: Compare Eze_16:63; Eze_36:31. with ver. 43.] — — —

Their knowledge of God, too, will be proportionably enlarged. Their opportunities of knowing God have been hitherto most unprofitably employed: but in that day, when they shall see all the predictions concerning them so wonderfully fulfilled, they will be made to acknowledge, with more genuine feeling than ever, that God’s grace has been magnified towards them; and that they themselves are, above all people upon earth, the most wonderful monuments of his grace — — —]

In all this are shadowed forth,

II.      The effects which the conversion of our souls will infallibly produce on us—

There is a considerable resemblance between the restoration of the Jews, and the conversion of a soul to God—

[From a dark and wicked world is every soul brought in its conversion to God [Note: Joh_15:19; Joh_17:14.] — — — And from that moment it enjoys sweet communion with God, in all the exercises of prayer and praise [Note: 1Jn_1:3.] — — — Then does “God manifest himself unto the soul as he does not unto the world [Note: Joh_14:22.],” and communicates unto it all the blessings both of grace and glory [Note: 1Jn_5:14-15.] — — —]

And in the effects produced on them is there also a very strict resemblance—

[From conversion flows such a deep humiliation of soul as was never experienced before. The need of a broken and contrite spirit may have been long acknowledged; but the reality of it is never felt, till the soul is brought to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Then the wonders of redeeming love are seen; and all the evils of the heart and life are felt as heightened and aggravated by the consideration of them: so that the soul actually lothes and abhors itself as a very mass of iniquity [Note: Job_40:4; Job_42:6.] — — —

From it also is derived such a knowledge of God as the soul never before had any conception of. The perfections of God may have all been acknowledged before, in a speculative way; but now the soul realizes them, and feels itself a living witness and monument of them all — — — Especially does it then see the sovereignty of God, as exercised in the communications of his grace to men. Once, perhaps, the idea of God’s sovereignty was painful to the mind: but now it comes with a power and sweetness that cannot be described. The believer needs not now be told that he has not been dealt with according to his deserts: he knows full well where he should have been, if God had not been exceeding abundant in mercy towards him: and from his inmost soul he gives all the glory of his salvation to God alone — — — The one subject of thanks giving amongst the heavenly hosts is the continued subject of his song on earth [Note: Rev_1:5-6.] — — —]

Let me, then, urge you all to seek this conversion:

1.       It is that by which God is to be glorified on earth—

[To the Jews, God says, “I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.” They, when converted to God, will be most distinguished monuments of God’s power and grace; yea, and of his truth and faithfulness also. And such, brethren, are ye to be, at this time: ye are to be “as lights shining in a dark world.” And such should be the change visible in you, as persons turned from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that all who behold you may “glorify God in you.” Especially let them see, that the mercies vouchsafed to you, so far from puffing you up with pride, are the means of humbling you in the dust before God, and of filling you with the most self-denying love to man — — — Ye are to be “epistles of Christ, known and read of all men [Note: 2Co_3:2-3.]:” and so is your light to shine before men, that all who behold you may glorify your Father who is in heaven [Note: Mat_5:16.]”]

2.       It is that by which alone your souls can be saved—

[There must be in you a separation from the world, from worldly maxims, worldly habits, and worldly company. “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world; and is utterly to be renounced; since, if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you [Note: 1Jn_2:15-16.].” To God, also, must you be brought: so as to “walk before him,” and to seek all your happiness in communion with him. You must also, to your latest hour, be abased before him in dust and ashes; and maintain upon your souls such a sense of his excellency, as must be to you a very foretaste of heaven itself. True, indeed, all this is not learned at once: but, as a child, at its first coming into the world, possesses all the parts of a man, so must all these things be begun in you, if ever you would approve yourselves as children of the living God — — — O, seek of God that grace that shall be sufficient for you; and know, that, as his future mercies to the Jews will not be obstructed by their past obduracy, so neither shall the descent of his grace on you be prevented by any unworthiness of yours, if only you will cry to God in his Son’s name, and “flee to Christ for refuge, as to the hope that is set before you.” “Of those who come to God in the name of Christ, not one shall ever be cast out.”]