Whenever I read repeated phrases in the Bible, for example, this post’s title is one that appears in Ezekiel numerous times (6:7,10,13,14; 7:4,9,27; 12:15,16,20; 13:9,14,23 and on they go), it strikes me. It’s as if God is hammering the nail in, the same one, over and over again. What is He conveying that is so important that He deems it necessary to restate so many times? There are three messages I see in this particular phrase, “then you will know that I am the Lord,” that attempt to discern why it’s repeated.
1. He is patient.
As 2 Peter 3:9 mentions, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is profoundly patient with His children. Pastor Voddie Baucham used this very verse to explain why Jesus has not come yet; because until all of His elect are born into Him, we must wait. We are impatient people, eager for the Second Coming, but God’s timing is perfect.
Reading through Ezekiel, we see the continual rebellion of Israel by their worshiping of other gods, their false prophets, their stubbornness to follow His given laws. And yet again, He restores Israel, over and over He keeps showing us His patience. Driving that nail in, not relenting from His divine purposes. We are Israel, His elect, and He will make it known that He is the Lord for His name’s sake (Ezekiel 20:44).
2. We are dense.
Even when we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we fail miserably at maintaining our heartfelt allegiance to God. We’ve been blessed with eyes to see and ears to hear the things God wants to reveal to us, but we still mess up. Repeatedly, we stray from Who we know to be true, in keeping His Word always in us. So, in this sense, we are dense enough that He needs to repeat His desires and glory for our walk with Him. Over and over again, we need that nail driven in as our wandering hearts and minds doze off into the things of this world (worries & anxieties over health or finances, incorrect understanding of where our image and identity is found, and any person or object that continually takes our focus off of Him).
3. Pay attention.
Bookends are neat and tidy as they hold up the row of books in between. However, when you come across “bookend” phrases, not so neatly arranged around words in a sentence, but scattered amongst and throughout chapter upon chapter in Scripture, this demands the attention be given to all the “in between” words. Obviously, it serves us well to pay attention to all His words, but when He repeats Himself obsessively within Scripture, I tend to read them more closely.
When you read the 48 chapters of Ezekiel, take note of this phrase. I didn’t count, but my estimate is that it is repeated hundreds of times. So, what do we do with that? Even the most simplistic take away is to let these words ruminate as you consider the depth of their meaning. Especially, that they follow the word then, implying that we will know that He is the Lord after or following something. Which that we do! When calamity comes into our lives, then we know that He is Lord. When we are able to find joy in our grief (Proverbs 14:13), then we know that He is Lord. When we get majestic glimpses of His sovereignty over our life, then we know that He is Lord. When we can fairly grasp what His providence entails and that He is the God we worship, then we not only know that He is Lord, but we have a peace in this world that transcends all understanding (Phillipians 4:7).