ODJ: A New Heart

November 15, 2018 

READ: Ezekiel 36:22-29 

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart (v.26).

Inspired by Polynesian mythology, the Disney animated movie Moana skillfully depicts the story of a brave teenager who strives to save her people from hunger and ultimate destruction. A selfish demigod had stolen the heart of “Te Fiti”, the goddess of creation. Because her heart was stolen, the world began to die. After a dangerous journey, Moana returns the heart to Te Fiti who is then transformed. Instead of death, Te Fiti provides life and hope to Moana and her people.

While the tale of the restoration of Te Fiti’s heart is inspiring, the one true God once told the Israelites He was going to give them a new heart. This heart would replace the stubborn one they had before—allowing them to follow Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

After a righteous king named Josiah died, the nation of Judah began following pagan gods and lost control of their land. Eventually the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem and took many captives, including Ezekiel, to Babylon. God gave the prophet a message of judgement for the people’s disobedience but also a beautiful message of hope and restoration.

In chapter 36, Ezekiel describes the process God would use to change His people. He would remove their old and evil heart and replace it with a new and pure heart formed to worship Him alone (v.26). God revealed that His Spirit would allow His people to “follow [His] decrees and be careful to obey [His] regulations” (v.27).

God’s promise was ultimately fulfilled through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. If we believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God who came to save us from our sin, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and changes our hearts—a miraculous work of spiritual transformation!

—Estera Pirosca Escobar

365-day plan: Acts 26:1-32

Read Hebrews 9:14-15and see how the sacrifice of Jesus restores our hearts to worship God. 
Has your heart been transformed by the Holy Spirit? How are our hearts changed when we believe in Jesus? How are they still a work in progress?