Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ezekiel 37 blog the first

The Vision of Ezekiel

I felt the powerful presence of the LORD, and his Spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal mean, can these bones come back to life?"

God said to me, "Mortal man, the people of Israel are like those bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the LORD God, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the LORD. I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the LORD. I have promised that I would do this - and I will. I, the LORD, have spoken."

Ezekiel 37:1-3; 11-14

Ezekiel was a priest and prophet to God's people, about 600 years before Jesus was born in Nazareth. Among other reasons, because God's people had not made God more important than anything else in their lives, a foreign king sent many of them from their own country into exile. They ended up in the land of Babylon. There in Babylon, they were called Jews, because they were from Judah. In exile or captivity in Babylon, their captors treated the Jews kindly. Many of them trusted God would be faithful to his promises and give them new life.
  • Who was Ezekiel? When did he live?
  • Where were God's people living? Why?
  • How were they treated?
  • What did they believe God would do in their lives?
God's promises? That's where Ezekiel comes in!!! Very often God uses us, the People of God, the Church, to do his work. In Ezekiel's time, God's promise for the future was an end to everything that prevented them from living their lives the way God had created them to live. For their future, just as for our future, God's ultimate promise was new life.
  • How does God intend for us to live?
  • What are some things that prevent us from living God's way?
  • Why were God's people exiled to Babylon?
In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God made a brand new life possible for every one of us. In the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God showed us that new life: this new life includes living in community with each other and with God. God's Holy Spirit makes this new life possible for us and for all creation!
  • What does "New Life" mean?
In Ezekiel's day, the Holy Spirit of God made possible the new life God's people needed. The "Dry Bones" in this story are God's people.
  • Why do you think God's people are called "dry bones" in this story?
God chose Ezekiel as his helper. God chose Ezekiel to speak the Word of the Life to the people. Ezekiel was the person who helped open people's hearts to the gift of God's Holy Spirit. As they received the Holy Spirit and began living in community with God and with each other, God would be able to use them as his helpers. As we receive God's gift of the Holy Spirit, we begin living in community with God and with each other. We live in the New Life that God gave us in Jesus' death and resurrection. And God is able to use us as his helpers.
  • Why does God choose people to help him?
  • How does God's Holy Spirit help us?
  • What are some ways we can be God's helpers?

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