In this week’s five-part blog series on Ezekiel 37:15-28, we have been observing God’s desires for his people. So far, he expressed his desire for his people to be unified, to be cleansed, and to live under the rule and reign of King Jesus. God has one more desire for them. Look at Ezekiel 37, verses 26-28.
God will make a new covenant of peace with the newly unified nation, and he will put his dwelling place among them, so that he will live with them. We have heard about this new covenant in previous chapters of Ezekiel, such as here. God desires a new covenant because the old covenant that God made with Moses and the nation of Israel had been broken. It was shattered by their disobedience. Now God desires a new covenant of peace, and through that covenant and God’s action of keeping the covenant, we are his people and he is our God.
You and I have the benefit of hindsight, seeing how this new covenant came into being through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Praise God that we can have a relationship with him, and that through the relationship, which he did all the work to establish, we not only have the hope of eternal life, but also the promise of abundant life on earth. God’s desire has made this possible. What we see in this passage is the flourishing of humanity that God’s heart beats for. It is a desire for his people to dwell in unity, even when there is not uniformity, to live in righteousness, to serve King Jesus, and to be the people of his covenant of peace. This is the restoration that God envisions in Ezekiel 37:15-28.
It is a restoration that God is at work, seeking to accomplish peace. It is a restoration that we embrace and work towards as well. It will not be fully realized until Jesus returns, but now, as we wait for his return, we make it our life’s mission and purpose to usher in his Kingdom. It starts with us, unified under the banner of King Jesus.
So how are God’s desires at work in your life? Are there ways you might be struggling with disunity? Remember the youth group retreat I mentioned in the first post in this series? The one where my youth pastor stopped a retreat and confronted the youth group about their disunity? Right then and there, in front of everyone, he invited people who had problems with each other to get up and confess their sins, go to people, make things right, seek forgiveness, express their hurts. Clear the air.
Do you need to do that? Do you have people in this room who have hurt you? Or are there people who you have hurt? Are there people who perhaps you have a brokenness with? My youth pastor wasn’t doing anything weird. He was just doing was Jesus himself said to do in Matthew 5, the same thing I say every time we take communion at Faith Church. Don’t go through with communion if you have a broken relationship. It is better, Jesus said, to go make that relationship right, than to go through with a religious ritual, and I believe Jesus’ teaching applies to communion. Healing relationships is God’s heart for unity, more so than performing a religious ritual. In the room that day on that youth retreat, I watched as teenagers got up and in tears shared their hurt, asked for and gave forgiveness. It was a powerful moment. One I obviously haven’t forgotten in 35 years. I can still see it fairly clearly in my mind.
What about you? Who do you need to make things right with? What areas of lifestyle sin do you need to be cleansed from? Take the time now to commit to God who you are going to talk with. Take the time now to talk with God. Then make a plan to heal the broken relationships in your life.