Ezekiel 34:25 I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. 26 I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations. 30 They shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel is a 6th Century priest and prophet to the children of Israel, who are exiled in Babylon. As he witnesses the destruction of Jerusalem in 586BC he has a series of visions. Ezekiel 37 is part of a vision of restoration that invites those who follow the Lord to look beyond their present predicament to a future promise of salvation and blessing. This requires his listeners to trust the Lord as a sheep trust the shepherd.
This passage has been passed down to us by our spiritual ancestors as encouragement for succeeding generations. As we go back to work / school / the daily grind / let us learn to trust the Lord as our Shepherd. We are challenged to look beyond the limitations of our present life to see that we are part of a bigger plan – a Covenant plan of God. Therefore let us pray each day for the wisdom to live a life that connects us to all of Creation – trees, vegetation, and people – so that we can be part of God’s “showers of blessing” in our community.
The week of New Year’s Day
6. Chosen to be God’s children
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 46.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.