“And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:35-36
Archaic and ancient, yet there is beauty within. Rubbled and ruined, but potential peeks through with the willingness to start again, to be reborn with purpose once more.
I must say, I am drawn to history and design in this manner. I love to learn about places of old. I am drawn to those shows and documentaries that feature taking these older places and structures, revitalizing them, restoring their ancient beauty, and making them livable and valuable once more.
If you are inclined to watch such programming, you will see that meticulous care is taken in the restoration process. And the older a place is, with more original features, the chances are the work that needs to be done cannot be done by just any rebuilder. Instead, those who are trained to deal with period pieces and materials are called in to work with their expertise on the structure to remake it to be as close to the original as possible.
God has always been in the rebuilding business. From the time of the Fall, and the Flood, and many points in between and beyond, though His people went through adversity, it was done with the intent of a new and fresh start from their sins and mistakes.
In ancient captivity, the children of Israel lived in bondage to the Babylonians due to their own sins and wayward ways. But God, in this chapter, looked forward to a time of restoration; a time of renewal for His people. A time and a moving that will bring glory to His name and not the dishonor that had been promoted by His people’s unholy living (36:21).
God was going to gather His people from where they had been dispersed and bring them back home (36:24), and the great rebuilding process would begin. Beginning with Cyrus (Ezra 1), followed by the help of other kings, God’s people would return home physically and spiritually, and the ruins would be rebuilt and lives would be restored in their relationship with God.
To accomplish this, God was going to give them a new heart and a new spirit (36:26-27). God was not just satisfied with cities becoming occupied again, but He wanted inner transformation. He wanted hearts that would make Him feel welcomed once more. A heart that would be in love with the Father and His ways once more. Those were the ruins God was most interested in rebuilding. The outward buildings were nice, but the new inner man who was being transformed, this is the real beauty God wants to see. To Him, this matters the most.
When David sought to be restored, he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). He wanted to be restored to the Father because his own sins caused a separation. He wanted to be rebuilt from the inside out.
Today, our heavenly Father is still rebuilding ruins. Much like David, when a heart turns to Him in true humility and repentance, they can be restored. Jesus Christ became the way for this to happen: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17); “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
When we come to Him and accept Him as Savior (Acts 2:38-39; John 3:5; Romans 6:4), He takes the old us and makes us something new: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are ruins no more.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) – this is where the rebuilding begins.
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