The Lord’s extended vision for a renewed Promise Land for the eventual return of exiles included more than just the temple. “You shall set apart for the Lord a portion of the land as a holy district.” The previous details were for the center of this larger territory. The full plan included sections for the priests, the Levites, and for the gatherings of “the whole house of Israel.”
There would also be a sizable property for “the prince” who would have the responsibility to maintain the life of worship within the new Israel. Any king would need to be a man of great faithfulness. “My princes shall no more oppress My people.”
At the center of Ezekiel 45, God spoke directly to the leaders who had performed so poorly during the closing years of Judah’s monarchy prior to the exile. “Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of My people.”
In the absence of a righteous ruler, what hope could there be that the general populace would live according to God’s standards for honest commerce? “You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath.” The prospects for moral success from such a call to honest governance and ethical business conduct must be considered in light of Ezekiel’s earlier prophesy (Ezekiel 36:26-27) regarding a coming future era of great inner renewal. “I will give you a new heart.” True personal transformation could never come by the Law. A faithful worshiping community would only exist through the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit.
A truly successful Prince for God’s kingdom would do more for Jehovah’s people than merely announcing God’s statutes. Ezekiel’s anticipated ideal leader might have been able to provide the people with all that was necessary to keep the calender of appointed Hebrew festivals, but only a far better monarch could give all God’s people what they would need for resurrection life.
The New Testament assures us that we have a great Son of David who is God’s provision for all of our deepest needs. While we still face present moments of deprivation as we wait for the future fullness of His final glorious reign, we can live as His children even now. The King who died for our sins and who rose again from the dead will surely accomplish what no other ruler could have ever achieved. Jesus will work within us a new life that will be consistent with His own glorious holiness.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, we long for Immanuel’s land, for You have a place for us there. Your Son went ahead to prepare that new home for us. How extensive is Your great land! There is room there for Your beloved children. The priesthood of all believers is laboring here below by Your grace. Today we face oppression, even from those who should be godly leaders in our midst. Here people lie to us and cheat us. Here we worry about the danger that our money will run out. We may spend our treasures in foolish ways with little awareness of our purpose in life. We long for Your courts above. We will thank You forever for our perfect atonement in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There we will not be plagued by evil people around us or from the remaining sin within us. We wait, O Lord, for Your deliverance, and we love You and one another in the strength of our eternal hope.