Ezekiel 35-37
(Woe to Edom, Hope for Israel)
September 5th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

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. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”

- Ezekiel 37:27:28 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

These passages continue the prophecies that Ezekiel delivered after the news of the fall of Jerusalem. The 35th chapter is a prophecy against Edom, who was taking advantage of the desolate state of Judah after her defeat.

The LORD confronts Edom with knowledge of their plans to take possession of all of the land of Israel. As a consequence, he tells them “ ‘I will treat you in accordance with the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them’ (35:11 - NIV).”

In the 36th chapter, Ezekiel is instructed to address the “mountains of Israel.” He acknowledges that they have been possessed and mistreated by other nations, but declares that better times are around the corner.

    "'But you, Mountains of Israel, will burst with new growth, putting out branches and bearing fruit for my people Israel. My people are coming home! Do you see? I'm back again. I'm on your side. You'll be plowed and planted as before! I'll see to it that your population grows all over Israel, that the towns fill up with people, that the ruins are rebuilt. I'll make this place teem with life—human and animal. The country will burst into life, life, and more life, your towns and villages full of people just as in the old days. I'll treat you better than I ever have. And you'll realize that I am God. I'll put people over you—my own people Israel! They'll take care of you and you'll be their inheritance. Never again will you be a harsh and unforgiving land to them."

    - Ezekiel 36:8-12 (MSG)

The LORD reminded Ezekiel that the people of Israel had previously defiled these mountains, so they felt his wrath and were dispersed among the nations. While in exile, he cleansed the people and said, “ ‘A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.' (Eze 36:26 - NRSV).”

In chapter 37 Ezekiel experiences another vision in which the LORD calls him to participate. The LORD brings him to a valley where he instructs Ezekiel to tell the dry bones there to rise up and puts the breath of life back into them. These bones brought back to life represent the forthcoming restoration of Israel and the new spirit that will be put back into them when they return to their homeland (the land of Jacob).

Next, the LORD tells Ezekiel to label two sticks as Judah and Ephraim and then join them together. These sticks, explained the LORD, represent the two kingdoms of Israel that will be reunited under one king and never again separated.

Reflection and Application

The people of Edom were the descendents of Esau, twin brother of Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebekah, grandson of Abraham. When the brothers were in the womb of Rebekah they moved around a lot and the LORD said to her:

    "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

    - Genesis 25:23 (NIV)

Esau was the first born, and was due to receive the inheritance from Isaac. However, we learned in Genesis 25:29-34 that one day Esau impulsively gave away his rights to Jacob for some stew, because he was hungry. The descendents of Jacob become the nation of Israel and the descendents of Esau become Edom. They were constantly in conflict with each other, as if they were still two brothers in one womb. When Jerusalem fell, the people of Edom saw that they had the perfect opportunity to vindicate themselves and regain the land of Esau, but the LORD would not allow it.

How do we value the inheritance that God has given us? We have the rights to eternal life with him, if we choose to follow him with our hearts. No one can take this away, but we can give it away or let I slip away if we are not faithful.

If we find ourselves in exile from the LORD we can turn to him and ask him to restore our hearts of flesh, and to once again fill our hearts with joy. He longs to do this for us, just as he longed to restore Israel – after they had served their time of punishment.

The vision of the dry bones come to life and the exercise with sticks helped Ezekiel and the people of his time to understand what was going to happen. They were a very visual society, not one based on written words, like our current era. These illustrations could convey what other words cannot. Sometimes we, even though we are modern people, also need illustrations, stories, and images to help us understand new or complex concepts. This is one of the reasons that our testimonies of faith are important for sharing the good news.

What would the scene of the bones look like? We can see one artist's interpretation in the painting titled "The Vision of Ezekiel," by Francisco Collantes (1599 – 1656). Click here the following link to see a representation of this painting from the "Art and the Bible" website: "The Vision of Ezekiel

The illustrations of our own lives bring clarity for other people who want to understand how God works. We can’t fully explain God, but we can talk about what he does, we can sing of his love forever. The Christian rock band called Delirious? often performed a song by that title. The band hailed from from Littlehampton, West Sussex, England and performed together from 1992-2009. The song below is their most popular song in the United States (1)

"I Can SIng of Your Love Forever," performed by Delirious?

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is one of your favorite paintings or photographs?
    2. How do we value the inheritance that God has given us?
    3. How can we illustrate to others the impact that God has had in our lives?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you are a forever God. Help us to sing of your love forever.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who want to return to their homeland


    (1) "Delirious?" on wikipedia.org 9/4/12

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Ezekiel 38-39 (Prophecies Against Gog)

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