Ezekiel 1:1-3, 36:16-37:28

Read Ezekiel 1:1-3, 36:16-37:28.

Sometimes things get worse before they get better. Sometimes things just keep getting worse. But with God, things can always get better. Ezekiel prophesied from the heart of Babylonian exile, recalling what led Israel to that point–God would not allow them to continue to profane his holy name by the blood they shed and the idols they pursued. God’s people had not reflected him or his ways, and as a result, they found themselves far from him, far from home, and far from hope. The valley of dry bones Ezekiel saw were as likely to rise as Israel was to be restored, which is to say that neither would happen apart from a move of God’s Spirit. Just as the breath filled the previously dry bones with life, God’s Spirit would fill his people that they might live again in their own land and that the nations would see God as he really is.

With God, things can always get better. Where God’s Spirit is at work in his people, life is not as far off as it might seem. That isn’t a flippant promise. It isn’t a short-term guarantee. It’s a declaration of hope much like the one Paul would make in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” That’s the hope we cling to in dry places–if Christ is raised, then the life-giving Spirit dwells in us. That’s the hope our lives proclaim. As Ezekiel 37:28 prophesies, “Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

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