Life-Study of Ezekiel

Life-Study of Ezekielby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0489-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

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LIFE-STUDY OF EZEKIEL

MESSAGE SEVENTEEN

THE OUTWARD AND INWARD RECOVERY BY LIFE

Scripture Reading: Ezek. 34:5, 14, 10, 15; 36:8-12, 15, 22-30, 33-38

In this message we will consider the matter of the outward and inward recovery by life.

JUDGING THE OLD MAN AGAIN

The recovery by life begins in chapter thirty-three, where God sets a watchman. This recovery continues in chapter thirty-four, where God Himself comes in to be the Shepherd to search for His people, to seek them out, to bring them back, and to cause them to enjoy the riches of Christ signified by the riches of the good land. Following this, in chapter thirty-five the Lord reminds us of the need to condemn our old man, which is signified by Edom. This is the reason that after chapter thirty there is another word concerning the judgment upon Edom. For the most part, God waits until judgment has been executed before He begins His work of recovery. However, in the process of recovery, there is still the need of God’s judgment. This is true, in particular, regarding Edom. Edom was judged in the previous section, but because the old man is very difficult to deal with, the judgment upon the old man must be repeated. Yesterday you might have condemned your old man and experienced judgment upon him. But today your old man may return to pay you a visit, perhaps in a nice way or in a subtle way. You have been recovered and you have been brought back to Christ as the good land and have entered into the rich enjoyment of Christ. You might have thought that your old man had been fully condemned and judged, but you did not realize that he has come back without giving you any notice and without asking for permission to visit you. Now as you are enjoying Christ, he is with you, hating your enjoyment of Christ and your enjoyment of the church life.

Ezekiel 35 says that Edom and his company were happy to see that Israel was desolate (vv. 12, 15). Edom was also waiting to possess the two nations of Israel and Judah, claiming them as belonging to Edom. To the Lord Edom was speaking nonsense, for He intended to exercise His judgment upon Edom once again.

We need to learn the lesson of judging Edom. While we are being recovered, we have to judge our old man again and again. The judgment upon Ammon, Moab, Tyrus, Zidon, and Egypt may be once for all, but the judgment upon Edom cannot be once for all. On the contrary, Edom, our old man, must be judged repeatedly until the day of the redemption of our body. This is the reason that between Ezekiel 34 and 36, which are wonderful chapters, there is a very negative chapter regarding the judgment upon Edom. Because Edom returns, the judgment upon him must be repeated. Although we have condemned him, judged him, and chased him away, he comes back. Therefore, we need to cooperate with the Lord to exercise once again His judgment upon the old man.

The genuine recovery of the Lord is not simply a matter of repenting, turning to the Lord, and enjoying the blessing of the Lord. There also needs to be a change in our life and nature. In His recovery, God needs to touch our heart and our spirit and thereby touch our life directly and change us in life and nature. Therefore, we need both the outward recovery described in Ezekiel 34 and the inward recovery described in Ezekiel 36. Because the recovery in Ezekiel 36 concerns our life and our nature and involves our heart and our spirit, chapter thirty-five is inserted to show the importance of judging our old man. In order to recover us and make us a new man, God must judge our old man, our old creation.

THE RECOVERY OF THE GOOD LAND

A major point in Ezekiel 36 is the recovery of the good land, that is, the restoration of the full enjoyment of the riches of Christ (vv. 8-15, 33-36). Whenever we backslide and become fallen, we lose the rich enjoyment of Christ. Christ Himself is rich, but we may lose the enjoyment of His riches. We praise the Lord that in His recovery there is the restoration of the enjoyment of the riches of Christ.

THE OUTWARD RECOVERY AND THE INWARD RECOVERY

In the Lord’s recovery there are two aspects: the outward aspect and the inward aspect, the outward recovery and the inward recovery. Suppose that you have fallen away from Christ, from the church life, and from the fellowship with the saints and have become involved with sinful, worldly things. But one day the Lord seeks you out and brings you back to Himself, to the church life, and to the fellowship with the saints. This is a recovery, but it is only an outward recovery, the outward aspect of the Lord’s recovery. However, at the same time the Lord does an inward work. He not only brings you back to the good land, but He also recovers you inwardly. To be recovered back to the church life and to the fellowship with Christ is only the outward aspect. You still need the inward aspect of the Lord’s recovery, which is covered in 36:22-30.


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