First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14

Spirit-Renewed Life

How do you find hope in the midst of gloom?

12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says the Lord YHWH: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 You shall know that I am YHWH, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and you shall know that I, YHWH, have spoken it and performed it, says YHWH.

World English Bible

The prophet Ezekiel was a Temple priest when the Babylonians swept the power elite of Jerusalem into exile, about 597 B.C. God called Ezekiel to prophecy through word and deed after his resettlement in modern-day Iraq. While Ezekiel proclaimed a message of extreme doom, he expressed an almost unreal hope in God's power.

The context for these verses is a case in point. 37:1-14 described a vision of a valley full of death. Bones lay everywhere [37:1]. Yet, at the command of the Lord, Ezekiel could prophesy, and the Spirit of the Lord would reconstitute the bones into flesh [37:2-8]. With another prophecy, the Spirit would pour life into the bodies [37:9-10].

37:11-14 connected the vision with the spiritual despair of the Jews in exile. Their hopes could revive through the power of God. What they could not do on their own, God could easily do. While it might seem impossible, like the reconstituting flesh or reanimating a body, God could revive a people and give them a purpose. He could give them hope!

God commanded Ezekiel to prophecy the spiritual resurrection of the Jews [37:12-14]. But, the prophecy would find another, fuller context. The person of Jesus, the Christ. Through him, followers would find a new hope in a final divine revival. God does and will breathe his Spirit into his people. And, he will give them a new place in his land. He will give them a new hope!

How does God give you hope in your times of darkness?