Ezekiel 36 has the prophet speaking of the coming restoration. With the removal of the people of Israel from their ancient homeland (both northern and southern kingdoms) certain neighboring nations took the opportunity to seize Israel’s former territory for themselves. God had to judge and punish His people for their actions, but now God will bring the people of Israel back to their former territory. The deserted land will be repopulated, cities will be rebuilt, farm and pasture lands will again become productive, and flocks and herds will increase.
“I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown….I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. Thus you will know that I am the Lord”. God’s in the restoration business. He’s bringing back His people to a place that He can revive them. They’ve been down and out, scattered to and fro, but now God’s got another agenda.
But we can’t forget the history behind why this happened in the first place. God had driven the people of Israel out of their land because their sins had made them unclean in his sight. “When the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds….therefore I poured out My wrath on them….I scattered them among the nations….according to their ways and their deeds I judged them”. He will cleanse his people from their idolatry and put a new spirit within them. Then, instead of being stubborn as in former days, they will have a willing heart to do God’s will.
“I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols….I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances….you will be My people, and I will be your God”.