Ezekiel 34:26“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season. There will be showers of blessing.”
We are missing Ezekiel’s point if we think he is writing about getting enough rain. It’s not water he is concerned about. He repeats here: showers and blessings. At the end he puts them together: showers of blessings. Ezekiel is writing about God’s promise to bless his people.
If not water, then what? What are God’s “blessing-drops” made of? These blessings are bigger, and more inclusive than we might realize at first. The biblical languages each have two families of words that we associate with blessing. One of them stresses the happiness that comes along with being blessed. You remember that the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, was “Asher.” His name means happy or blessed. The same is true of the first word of each of Jesus’ beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. There is happiness in the things that Jesus promises us there.
Ezekiel uses a different word for “bless” and “blessing” here. That does not mean that happiness is excluded. It just means that happiness is not emphasized. God’s blessing is not limited to the kinds of things that make us happy, at least on the outside. Blessing comes with all the many promises our Lord makes to us, even things that don’t seem very pleasant at first. Even when people around us are hostile, inconsiderate, or lazy, God is blessing us. He uses the foolishness in their sinful natures to work on the impatience in our own. He is teaching you and me to be more like him–someone who keeps loving the unlovable.
I don’t want to give the impression that his blessings look mostly like burdens, though. I just want to point out that it is raining blessings all the time. There has never really been a drought, and that becomes more clear when we see what his blessing-drops are made of. They include everything our loving Savior and Good Shepherd does to serve our souls. If we stop looking at the word “blessing” with a telephoto lens for a moment, if take a wide-angle shot of the blessings Ezekiel mentions by name in the context, the picture is clearer.
In the surrounding verses God promises, “I will save my flock.” That is exactly what he did when he sent Jesus to be our Good Shepherd and to lay down his life on the cross. “I the Lord will be their God.” Out of all the billions of people in the world, we are not living in the darkness, terrorized by scary gods and evil spirits, hoping we have done enough to convince them to let us live another day. He placed us in Christian homes, or sent someone to introduce us to Jesus along the way. We were led to know the Lord, and by faith he has been our gracious God ever since. “I will make a covenant of peace with them.” Jesus’ death promises us forgiveness. Jesus’ resurrection promises heaven. In these blessings we have a peace most of our world can’t even imagine. “They will live in safety.” Body and soul, day in and day out, we are never out of our Savior’s sight, and no matter what we have experienced in the body, he has brought our souls safely to this day.
For the Christian, the forecast always calls for blessing showers today. They rain down on us until they overwhelm us with a flood of his grace and love. Soak it in.