Today's chapter from Ezekiel (20) contained a usual amount of judgement and challenging words for the wayward Israelites, but there were 2 words that left an impression on me. They are the words 'held back.'
14 But again I held back in order to protect the honour of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. (The same phrase is repeated in verse 17.)
It tells us that even though God was bleak with his children, he was still in full control of his power and emotions. God was willing to 'hold back' his wrath and punishment, because of his great love for the people. It is true that they were the ones who turned their backs on God - they were unfaithful and disobedient, so God had every right to feel rejected, but he restrained himself in order to give them another chance.
Lent is a wonderful time to be mindful of our own sin and the generous love of God. The Lord could justifiably dish out some punishment to us, but God HOLDS BACK, in order that we may come back to him.
Ezekiel 20:44 - You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honoured my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
Living in Grace