[From Nov. 16, 2015]
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
After judgment & exile, the people of Israel (& Judah) will be restored by the LORD. Ezekiel chapters 36-37 are filled with wonderful images of restoration. It begins with a baptism of sorts: a cleansing by water of all the 'uncleanness of idols.' The people, for centuries, looked to things other than God for sustenance and inspiration. That will change.
God notes that it's a HEART problem. The people have a "heart of stone." We think of that in terms of being uncaring & unfeeling. God sees it as a heart that doesn't seek him. It's kind of interesting to think that means it's incapable of functioning the way a heart should. A stone heart is no good. But God will replace it with "a heart of flesh." A heart that works! It pumps and feels and fills the rest of the body with life. WHY? Because it's connected to the LORD and seeks to follow his ways.
We have "hearts of flesh" when we read God's word. When we align our lives (and actions) with God's will for us. I want a heart of flesh, not stone. I want to truly live... and to empower my congregation to do the same.