The Old Testament book of Ezekiel is truly an amazing book. As a prophet of God during the exile, Ezekiel had a ministry among the captives of Judah who had been carried away to Babylon. God used the Babylonian empire as an instrument of judgment against His people because of their idolatrous ways. Even though they had been unfaithful to Him, God would never be unfaithful to them. For the sake of His great name, His covenant faithfulness would remain. He would still bring blessing into the world through the descendants of Abraham. This is a major theme in the book of Ezekiel.
Yesterday at Green Street, I preached from Ezekiel 37 where we read about a vision that God gave the prophet Ezekiel, a vision in which he saw a valley that was full of dry bones. After the experience of the vision, God gives Ezekiel an explanation of what he saw. The bones were an illustration of His people. It was an accurate depiction of the whole house of Israel. Looking on their situation, they were under the impression that all hope was lost. Jerusalem had been reduced to a pile of rubble. The temple that once housed the glory of God was an ash heap, and its citizens were now captives in a strange land. They were just like the lifeless skeletons in Ezekiel’s vision. After all, can dry bones really live again? Yet God shows the prophet Ezekiel how He Himself would bring His people up out of their graves! By His mercy and grace, God would bring them back into their land after a period of time. In the last several verses of chapter 37, He says:
“Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms…My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd…My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” (Ezekiel 37:21-28)
What a remarkable promise! Though their situation was bleak and hopeless, they had something to look forward to. God wasn’t through with them. He had not abandoned His covenant, even though His people had abandoned Him. God would still bring blessing into the world in fulfillment of the promise He made to both Abraham and David. The hope of God’s people would be ultimately found in a future King. They would be one nation with one King and one Shepherd. God would make His dwelling place with His people and His sanctuary would be in their midst forevermore. Here, we find Christ in the message of Ezekiel.
By way of application, remember that no matter how desperate and hopeless you think your situation is in life, you can be confident in a sovereign King who is seated on an eternal throne. This assures us as believers that our hope is always secure. When stock markets crash, we still have hope. When we are abandoned by those we thought were our friends, we still have hope. When we face sickness and death, we still have hope because our hope is in our resurrected Savior King. He passed through the valley of death in our place. Now through faith in Him, we have been given His eternal life. Jesus Christ is the hope to whom our faith is directed in the book of Ezekiel.