Father of All

OPENING PRAYER

Abba, You are one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

Read: EZEKIEL 37:15-28

[15] The word of the LORD came to me: [16] “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ [17] Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. [18] “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ [19] say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph-which is in Ephraim’s hand-and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ [20] Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on [21] and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. [22] I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. [23] They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. [24] “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. [25] They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. [26] I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. [27] My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. [28] Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.'” 

 

Reflect: WHAT HAS GOD FORETOLD THROUGH EZEKIEL?

Why is it so much easier to destroy and divide than it is to build and unite? Relationships, between people or nations, built over many years can be destroyed by a thoughtless word or an impulsive deed. What God was proposing here (15-17) was, to human reason, impossible. First, the division of Israel into the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel was acrimonious and centuries old. Second, the two kingdoms had been destroyed: the northern Israelites had been swallowed and scattered by Assyria in 722 B.C., and in Ezekiel’s time (597 B.C.) the southern kingdom had been decimated by Babylon. Our human tendency is to focus on differences and disagreements. We erect boundaries, mark our divisions and emphasize separation. God is different to us! The “Father of all” works to gather people (21), to unite them (22), to restore relationships (23). His aim is one nation, one king, one shepherd (22,24; see also Eph. 3:6) so that all people will know him (28). 

 

APPLY

Ask the Spirit of unity to guide your words and actions so that you may guard the unity that God has created in Christ.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, You went to the cross with the prayer for unity among Your people. Help me live toward that end.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
www.scriptureunion.org