Have you ever had a really painful falling out with a friend? It may be that things ended so poorly that you were certain the relationship was beyond any hope of reconciliation. Imagine that in time you came to realize that the fallout was caused entirely by your own sin. Recognizing your fault in the situation, how shocked would you be if the other person came to you seeking to repair the relationship? Chances are you would be astonished by the person’s demonstration of forgiveness.
God’s capacity to forgive is astonishing as we read of His plan in Ezekiel 36 to restore Israel from Babylon and all the nations to the promised land. God’s relationship with His people lay in ruin because of their rebellion, yet He extended His hand of mercy even though they were undeserving. Part of the plan to restore Israel involved the fruitfulness of the land.
Verses 8-15 lay out four promises the Lord makes to Israel. First, the land will again be fruitful (vv. 8-9). Second, the people will return and multiply in the land (vv. 10-11). Third, their return to the land will be permanent (vv. 12-14). Fourth, God’s people will never again be insulted by foreign nations (v. 15).5 In short, God poured out His merciful love on a people who did not deserve it.
How does the gospel influence your outlook and actions regarding fractured relationships?