Briar Patch Rewards

“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)

The book of Ezekiel reminds me of our largest, thickest briar patch at my Pinedale home in north Georgia. The briars were mean and cutting to our skin, yet there were beautiful big juicy blackberries hanging amongst the bristles. How to get to them? We wore thick clothing and heavy shoes and formed trails or “tunnels” into the briar patch, meandering this way and that so that we could reach the beautiful fruit. Some of the best berries glistened on thorny branches in the middle of the sunny hillside berry patch sparsely shaded by an occasional pine tree. The scratches we sustained burned and itched. But, in the end, rounded buckets of berries were worth the pain, especially when Mamma made a huge blackberry cobbler.

I read lines and lines of ominous passages in Ezekiel, many of which I do not understand. Then, suddenly, a verse stands out as if in bold print and I hear God’s voice speaking to me from the pages. I have tunneled through the briars and the fruit is wonderful!

The verse today is one of those treasures. God will put His Spirit in you, in me, and move, or urge, or prod me to follow His ways and to keep His commandments. Really? He will take such careful notice of me? Of course I’m putting my name, as you can do yours, in the place of Israel, His Chosen People, because, according to Paul’s writing, we have been adopted into His family when we come to Him and ask to become His sheep. Through the blood of His Son Jesus we become, too, His Chosen Ones. And He puts His Spirit within us!

What exactly does that mean? It means that, in addition to being created in the “image of God,” we become actual children of God and He breathes His own self into our spirits. He becomes one with us. He puts in us the “mind of Christ,” (Philippians 2:5); He gives us spiritual gifts of love, longsuffering, kindness, etc. (Galatians 5:22); and He makes us able to do “all things through Him Who strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

He has put His Spirit within you! What a shining piece of “fruit” in the middle of Ezekiel! I will treasure this realization, this revelation of truth. It is yours, too, for the picking! But it means so much more if you read all of Ezekiel and hear the rumble of God’s authority and might all the way through. When you feel the deep scratches of those briars, the fruit is so sweet a reward!

 

My Prayer: Lord, I know that every word in the Bible is very important, but in my weakness and ignorance I find a lot of trouble understanding many passages. But I am so happy to hear your voice today and I want to have your Spirit within me and to obey your decrees and commands.

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