Let’s start off with some stats.
Within Ezekiel 36 and 37 alone, the following words appear several times:
1. “you [the nations; they] will know that I am the Lord” = 6X
2. “you [they] shall be my people, and I will be your [their] God” = 3X
3. “you shall live” = 3X
4. “I have spoken, and I will do it” = 2X
Repetition is used to place emphasis on an idea or thought. These words weren’t mentioned repeatedly on accident or because the writer didn’t have a Thesaurus. They were emphasized for a reason.
These two chapters are centered on a single idea: Life.
We usually think of life as something new, something that comes to exist for the first time, something that emerges from an already existing beautiful life. What we forget is that life can come from destruction and desolation too. We see this phenomenon occurring all throughout science and nature. The same is true of our spiritual existence. New life can come from brokenness. New life can come from death. How? By simply allowing the Lord to cleanse us (v.25), give us a new heart (v.26), and put a new Spirit within us (v.26-27). We must choose to walk in obedience to Him.
Living in the 21st century has somewhat turned us into a generation of spoiled brats. Yes. I said it (you know you were thinking it). Now, I don’t mean that in a cynical way – I simply wanted to bring to light how our thinking has evolved from the days of our parents and grandparents. They understood how to play the waiting game. We, however, do not. We live in a time where immediate satisfaction is necessitated, demanded. Sometimes, it’s practical for us to get what we want, when we want it. Information is literally at our fingertips. But sometimes, we have to wait – this is never easy for us or pretty to watch. Waiting sucks. But guess what? There’s one thing we don’t have to wait for: LIFE.
The very moment we allow the Lord to cleanse us from our sins, we experience immediate resuscitation. And I’m not talking about the traumatic, CPR, someone cracking your ribs to get your heart pumping, kind of resuscitation. I’m talking about a peaceful yet powerful revival that takes place without a single broken rib. A revival that immediately satisfies your lungs with every gasp, a revival that allows waves of peace to crash into you.
The very moment we allow the Lord to cleanse us from our sins, He begins the rebuilding process. What once was desolate, becomes like the Garden of Eden. Lush, fruitful, pulsing with life. What once was destroyed and deserted, becomes strengthened, invigorated, habitable.
He rebuilds the ruined.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.
He rebuilds the ruined. He lifts up the lowly. He gives beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). He restores the torn; He heals the wounded (Hosea 6:1). He takes the rubble and replaces it with the most precious of stones: turquoise, sapphires, rubies (Isaiah 54:11-12). He breathes Life into the lifeless (Ezekiel 37:5-10).
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.
Our bones are dried up. Our hope is lost. We are cut off. For many, this is a past condition. For many still, this is a present condition. But one thing is for sure, this doesn’t have to be a permanent condition.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live
But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
He saves. He purifies. He loves.
In cleansing us, He grants us Life (“you shall live“).
In saving us from ourselves, He takes possession of His children, He extends a Father’s Love to His people (“you [they] shall be my people, and I will be your [their] God“). He reminds us that we belong.
In rebuilding us, in transforming our rubble and desolation into a beautiful and strong structure, in replacing our desolate land with land likened to the Garden of Eden, He makes known His Power and Majesty to all (“you [the nations; they] will know that I am the Lord“).
…and the breath came into them, and they lived…