Today’s Daily Lesson comes from Ezekiel chapter 11 verses 19 and 20:
19I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
When the Prophet Ezekiel rose to speak his word from the LORD, he did so at a time when the people were greatly hardened by life’s travails. Generations of wars and rumors of wars and an exile that brought disruption and disjuncture and chaos to family and community cohesion. Only the strong survived. And with that strength came a hard-shelled bitterness that no mortal could crack. This was the way of survival. Every man to himself, every child for her herself — the destruction of community, an end of a people.
Then the prophet rose to proclaim the good news. “Hear O Israel, hear O children of God; even the hardest of hearts can be softened by the tender mercies of our LORD. Even in the heart of stone can be found a soft place, a place of warmth and of love. And a people who were not a people can be knitted together again into something beautiful, something called family.
“Thus saith the LORD, “They shall be my people and I will be their God.'”
Thus saith the LORD: “No child of mine is beyond redemption.”