Reading: Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Verse 14: I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.
Ezekiel is living amongst and speaking to a people living in exile. They were carried off long ago and feel as if they have been living in exile forever. The people of Israel cry out, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off”. There is great sadness in these verses. It is very difficult to live without hope.
As Ezekiel prophesies, the scattered bones come together as tendon, flesh, and skin covers them. They are capable of having life now but there is no breath in them. They are flesh and bone, but that is all. At this point they represent Israel in exile. Living but not truly having life can also represent many we know ourselves. Yes, they are physically alive – they go to work, spend time with their families and friends, maybe even play on your softball team. But they only know earthly life; they do not know or live for anything outside of the here and now.
For the Israelites in exile, life has become about simply surviving in the day to day. They are barely getting by. They feel ‘cut off completely’ from God and all they knew back home. It is hard to live without hope and they are fast losing hope. God instructs Ezekiel to prophesy that the breath of God enter the dry bones and flesh so that they would have life. Ezekiel does this and a vast army arises. This is the vision Ezekiel brings back to the people living in exile, to a people fast losing hope. In this, the people know that God has heard their cry and that He will respond. It brings much needed hope to the nation of Israel.
In a very similar way, we too can offer hope to those we know who are alive but only in the earthly sense. We too can share the hope that comes when one lives with Jesus as Lord and Savior. We too can share the joy that comes when the Spirit of God enters our hearts and brings us each the hope of eternal life. May we each seek to be spreaders of the Word of God to those living in exile, so that they too may know abundant life in Christ in this place and eternal life with Him in the life to come.