Thursday 31 March 2016

Bible Book:

“I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.” (v. 14)

Ezekiel 37:1-14 Thursday 31 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 148


By 586BC the Babylonians had totally sacked Jerusalem, destroyedthe temple and taken all but the poorest Judaeans back to Babylonin exile. The Jewish faith had been deeply rooted in the beliefthat God dwelt among them in the temple and the exile caused acrisis of faith, in which the people questioned whether they werestill God's chosen people, whether God had broken God's promise tosave God's people, or, worse, had been unable to save Jerusalem.They questioned how long the exile would last and whether it wouldever end.

Ezekiel was called to be a prophet while in exile in Babylon in593BC, before the second wave of exiles and his first call was towarn the other exiles and those Judaeans still living in Judah thatthe temple was to be destroyed as God's punishment for theirfaithlessness. After the destruction the messages he was givenbecame hope-filled, assuring the people that God had not abandonedthem and that one day they would return to Jerusalem and the Templewould be restored.

The structure of the book of Ezekiel, therefore, reflects thethree days of Easter: prophecies of doom and destruction resonatewith Good Friday; the waiting of Easter Saturday is reflected inthe middle section of oracles against the enemies of Judah; finallythe prophecies of new life and restoration echo the Resurrection ofEaster Sunday.

This passage is taken from the third section and is anallegorical vision promising new life to the exiles. The bones thatEzekiel saw had been lying in the valley so long that they hadbecome dry and sun-bleached (verse 2) and there was clearly no lifeleft in them. In the same way the exiles had lost all hope of everreturning to Jerusalem. But, as in the Resurrection, God did theimpossible and gave new life where there was no possibility of it(verses 7-10).

In verses 11-14 God interprets the allegory, but uses anothermetaphor - of opening graves, to signal the restoration of hope andjoy and the return to Jerusalem. It is significant that the imageof the winds breathing life into the bodies (verses 9-10) equatesto the people receiving the spirit of God (verse 14). Truerestoration of life is not merely about political autonomy,rebuilding a place of worship or returning to a familiar place, butbeing united with God by having God's Spirit within. Only life inthe Spirit is life at all.

To Ponder

  • What promises do you hold onto when you feel dry andhopeless?
  • As you look at our political situation today, what theologicalquestions does it raise? Are there any situations that feel likethey have been abandoned by God?
  • What does life in the Spirit look like for you?
Previous Page Wednesday 30 March 2016
Next Page Friday 01 April 2016