I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Today’s image of a stone has a negative connotation. In Ezekiel’s prophecy, God is not pleased with the people’s character or behavior. He compares their rebellion to having a “heart of stone.”
A “heart of stone” is cold, impenetrable, stubborn, and unrepentant. God sent Ezekiel to speak to the people about changing their ways, about examining their attitudes and priorities. Yet, right in the middle of a harsh judgment toward the people, Ezekiel shares this promise that God wants to change their hearts. It’s something God will do, but it also requires some action from the one whose heart is cold and hard. It’s a both/and scenario: God does something, and we do something. The warning is that people whose hearts are still divided and devoted to other things won’t be transformed.
Having a stone-cold heart is a miserable thing. It makes life harder than it has to be. Turning back to God can be a huge, courageous step, especially if it means leaving old habits and attitudes behind. But the promise of having an undivided heart and God’s Spirit in a heart of flesh is definitely the better way. It’s what God desires for our lives. It makes a radical change in life worth every effort, and we can do it in God’s strength.
Lord Jesus, we want to be changed from the inside out. We turn to you and are grateful that you promise a new start. Give us undivided hearts filled with your Spirit so that we may praise you. Amen.
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