Who Has Your Hills?
Ezek. 36:1 ¶ And you, mortal, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.
Ezek. 36:2 Thus says the Lord GOD: Because the enemy said of you, “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights have become our possession,”
Ezek. 36:3 therefore prophesy, and say: Thus says the Lord GOD: Because they made you desolate indeed, and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became an object of gossip and slander among the people;
Ezek. 36:4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains and the hills, the watercourses and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted towns, which have become a source of plunder and an object of derision to the rest of the nations all around;
Ezek. 36:5 therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I am speaking in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who, with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, took my land as their possession, because of its pasture, to plunder it.
Ezek. 36:6 Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the watercourses and valleys, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am speaking in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the insults of the nations;
Ezek. 36:7 therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer insults.
Ezek. 36:8 ¶ But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home.
The people of God had turned over their hills to the worship of other gods. Instead of looking around them and seeing God's hand in all that he had created, they saw mountain tops filled with idol worship. As they would look to the heavens, their eyes would stumble over the idols they had created and where they chose to offer their sacrifices. God's heart was broken.
But now the prophet declares the word of the Lord GOD -- "The ancient heights have become our possession." God is again reclaiming his place among his people. Even these hills which had been given over in immoral worship of other gods are able to be reclaimed to the glory of God. And not only to the glory of God, but they are renewed and will again be able to fulfill the purpose for which God had created them. They will be fresh and new and will again yield fruit -- for God's people will come home!
Just as God was able to renew the hills of Israel, so this prophetic voice is a reminder that God can renew you and me. Your hills may be captivated by the world. You may be practicing abominable things on the mountaintops but God is still able to come down and redeem his people. The promise is for all who have wandered as far away from God as possible. There wasn't much worse than to set up false idols and offer your own babies as sacrifices to them! And yet God was willing to come in his redemptive powers and restore the mountains.
The restoration of God is so complete that he makes us new. The past can be transformed into the present and today can be the first day of the rest of your life, as you put your trust in him. The old idols can be torn down and new life will begin to grow again in their place. And the new day and the new life will bear good fruit for the kingdom.
We don't need to live in discouragement of the past. We don't need to live in bondage to the gods of our hills. We need to turn our hills over to the God of all redemption who is waiting to recapture them and restore them. God gives new life in the midst of everything that might be broken down. But you must give him the hills.
Lord, may you rule and reign over every hill of my life. Amen.