Editor’s Note: Thanks to David Hundert who is our guest blogger this week, continuing our series through Ezekiel.
Take a look at the title of this post and think about the word, “confession.” What comes to mind? I envision a courtroom with a judge and jury, and a witness being grilled by a lawyer, whose questions lead the witness to break down and confess that they were more than a witness, they committed a crime. It can seem very adversarial, a situation we don’t want to find ourselves anywhere near. But there is another way that confession is actually transformational. There is a way that confession is the hope of the world. How so?
We’ll find out as we continue our study of Ezekiel 11, reading verses 14-25.
In verse 14, Ezekiel writes, “The word of the Lord came to me.” This is an indication that the Lord is about to respond to Ezekiel’s concern and his exclamation at the end of verse 13. There Ezekiel expressed deep concerned that the Lord was going to destroy the remnent left in Israel. God’s response to Ezekiel is, “Wait a minute… There’s still hope!”
Notice what the Lord told Ezekiel, “Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” The Lord hadn’t forgotten about the exiles and there is still hope! Not only is there hope for them, but justice will be served. The Lord is going to bring down on them, all of the detestable things that they’ve done.
After God encouraged Ezekiel about the future restoration of the Judean remnant, God’s glory departs east from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. God’s presence in Israel can be pictured as removed. Judgment is now certain! In the vision Ezekiel is then brought back to Babylon, and the vision stops. He recounts the entire vision to the exiles who have been observing his symbolic siege and have seen him caught up in the vision. With Ezekiel’s amazing vision over, consider with me how the vision might relate to us.
Look, we are all broken people. Can we all agree with the apostle Paul when he states that the very thing that he doesn’t want to do is the very thing that he finds himself doing, and the things that he wants to do are the things that he doesn’t do? He says in the last half of Romans 7:18, “…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
So if Paul, the apostle who wrote almost 30% of the New Testament and planted many of the original churches, cannot do what is good, what chance do I have? It can feel hopeless. We are all sinners. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop when we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and lives. We are all just as guilty as the rulers in Ezekiel’s day and just as deserving of exile and punishment as those that served their secret idols in exile in Babylon.
So now what do we do with that? Well, I have good news for you… There’s still hope!
If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, the answer is simple…Confess your sins! As 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What does it mean to confess our sins? Confession of sin is an invitation to experience the love and mercy of God. Confession is the deliberate decision to place our sins at the foot of the cross. In confession, we pledge our lives to the God of love and mercy. The American church needs revival, and I’m a firm believer that this type of revival begins when each and every one of us confess our sin. However, what if you tried confessing your sin and yet still struggle? What if you feel that your prayers aren’t getting past the ceiling? The Lord addressed that too! James 5:16 states,
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Forgiveness comes from confessing to God. But “healing” comes when we confess to one another. Have you ever noticed that even after confession to God, sometimes you still feel alone and broken? This is because the devil tries to put a lie in our minds that says, “God can forgive you, but no human can. If they knew what you have done, they would never look at you the same again. If anyone finds out, they will realize you aren’t who they thought.” God knows that when we hide our sins from another person, we begin to feel isolated and alone. We start to walk on eggshells, paranoid about the “what ifs.” This is why God calls us to confess to one another. Not for salvation, but for healing.
We as believers can also develop a heart of stone by continually tuning out the Holy Spirit’s guidance and failing to confess our own sins. So nurture a heart of flesh by depending on the Spirit, confessing sin, and walking in step with the Spirit.