Date: January 21, 2023
I use the BLESS method every morning for my devotional.
B - Bible Verse
L - Listen for God's Word and pray
E - Explore the History and meaning
S - Study and savor
S - Summarize and Share
You can read more about it by going to: What is a Faith Journal?
Bible Scripture Verse – Ezekiel 36:26
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Listen for God’s Voice
Heavenly Father, I ask for your guidance as I try understand and apply your Word today. Help me to let go of any hard-heartedness in my spirit and open my heart to receive your love and grace. Give me the strength and willingness to follow your commands and live a life that pleases you. Amen.
Explore History – Who wrote it, when and to what audience? Key people in the story?
Ezekiel was a priest and prophet who lived in the 6th century BC. The book of Ezekiel is divided into three main sections: judgments on foreign nations (chapters 1-24), judgments on Israel (chapters 25-32), and a vision of a restored Israel (chapters 33-48). The verse Ezekiel 36:26 is part of this vision of a restored Israel, where God promises to give a new heart to the Israelites and to restore them to their land.
This verse isn’t just addressed to people of Ezekiel's time, but it’s also addressed to future generations of God's people, because of its message of hope and restoration for everyone who is willing to repent, receive forgiveness and be renewed by the power of God's Spirit.
Study and Savor – Key Words
I decided to dig into some Hebrew for this verse.
"I will give you a new heart" - The Hebrew word used here is "lev" which means heart or inner man, this phrase refers to the transformation of the innermost being of the Israelites. God is promising to give them a new inner nature, one that is inclined towards obedience and devotion to him.
"And put a new spirit in you" - The Hebrew word used here is "ruach" which means spirit, wind, or breath, this phrase represents the power of God's Spirit that will enable the Israelites to live in accordance with his will. This new spirit is the one that will give them the power to obey and follow God's commands.
"I will remove from you your heart of stone" - This phrase refers to the state of spiritual hardness or rebellion that the Israelites were in, the heart of stone represents a heart that is unresponsive to God's word and resistant to his commands.
"And give you a heart of flesh" - The Hebrew word used here is "basar" which means flesh, this phrase represents a heart that is responsive to God's word and obedient to his commands. A heart of flesh is one that is open and receptive to God's leading and it is a metaphor for a heart that is sensitive and responsive to God.
Summarize and Share
This verse is talking about God's promise to change our hearts and make us new people. It's saying that He will take away our hard, stubborn hearts and replace them with hearts that are soft and willing to follow Him.
Have you ever seen someone who seemed to always be angry and bitter, but through a relationship with God, they learned to forgive and let go of their resentment. Their heart was been changed from one of stone to one of flesh, and they now have peace and joy in their life.
We need this reminder every day that God has the power to change us and make us new, if we let Him. We need to trust in Him and allow Him to work in our hearts.
So how can we do that?
Pray: If you are struggling with a hard heart, pray and ask God to give you a new heart and a new spirit. God's promise is to change us from within, so we need to invite Him into our hearts.
Share your own testimony: Share with others about a time when God changed your heart, and how it has impacted your life. This will give others a glimpse of what is possible for them as well.
Study the Word: Continue to read and study the Bible, specifically Ezekiel 36:26 and other related verses.
Find a community: Being in a community of believers who can support and encourage us in our journey of growing in our faith is one of the best ways to overcome a hard heart. Being in the Blessed Intentions Facebook group is a wonderful way to stay connected!
Take action: This can be something as simple as forgiving someone who has hurt you. But if that seems difficult, then commit to start, or continue to read the Bible every day and ask God to help you forgive someone.
Trust in God: The key to this transformation is to trust in God and allow Him to work in your heart. God is powerful and He will change us if we let Him.
Bible Cross Reference
Jeremiah 31:33 - "But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." This verse talks about the new covenant that God makes with His people and how He will put His law in their hearts.
Isaiah 57:15 - "For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite." This verse talks about God's desire to dwell with those who have humble and contrite hearts.
Ezekiel 11:19 - "And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh," This verse is similar to Ezekiel 36:26 and it talks about God's promise to give His people a new heart and a new spirit, which is the same promise in Ezekiel 36:26
Romans 2:29 - "But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God." This verse talks about how true righteousness comes from the heart, and how being a true Jew is not about physical circumcision but about the state of the heart.