The hope of God with us

The Hope of God With Us

The Hope of God With Us was originally published at Gracefully Truthful. It is not part of the Church of the Nazarene Advent Series; however, it certainly follows the theme of God With Us.

  1. On Our Way Back to God
  2. The Promise of Restoration
  3. God’s Promise to Comfort
  4. Prepare the Way of the Lord
  5. God Sings Over Us
  6. The Hope of God With us
  7. Trusting God’s Plans and Ways
  8. Get Ready for the Lord’s Coming


Read Ezekiel 37:15-28 First

70 Years in Captivity

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Ezekiel lived during the 70-year captivity of Judah in Babylon. The prophets Jeremiah and Daniel were his contemporaries. The nation of Israel had forgotten God and become idolatrous by worshiping other gods. Through prophets, God repeatedly warned them about their sin and the coming destruction as a result.

Even after they were captured, they took on the pagan gods and beliefs rather than standing up for the One True God. They had a “form of godliness but denied the power within.” (2 Timothy 3:5, Titus 1:16) They ignored the prophets, so God “left them to their own devices”. They wandered so far from God they no longer had unity within the nation.

In just a few short generations after King David’s reign, the nation split into two nations. The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes led by the half-tribe of Ephraim) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (The tribes of Judah and Benjamin). The Northern Kingdom had already been overtaken by Assyria during Ezekiel’s ministry and finally, God allowed Babylon to overtake the Southern Kingdom as well.

Valley of the Dry Bones

Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the people were taken captive where they remained for 70 years. Ezekiel’s ministry was during these 70 years. In the first half of chapter 37, Ezekiel has a vision in the Valley of the Dry Bones. Ezekiel was amid piles of dry bones depicting the futility of the people’s lives without the Lord God.

The people did not care about God. Even if they were still worshiping Him, it was in a ritual only as they followed the cultural influences around them. They were dead in their sins and, for Ezekiel, it seemed there was no hope. But God showed Ezekiel He would raise His nation up and make them alive again.

The Promise of Hope

After 400 years of silence, God began to move again among His people and so, the dance began again. John the Baptist was conceived as a forerunner to Christ. He leaped in his mother’s womb just being near the mother of the Messiah. Doesn’t your heart leap at the joy of this news?

And who could forget the angelic announcement of the birth of Christ? Think of it! If I were a shepherd, I would not be able to keep still with excitement at the prospect of this joyous time. Hope was being fulfilled as Emmanuel (Jesus) came to humanity; God with us! A different age was about to begin, the Age of Grace under the Covenant of Redemption. Not only is God with us, but His Holy Spirit can live within us if we trust in Christ as our Savior!

The light of the world has come to chase away the darkness and the people began to dance in the light!

The Hope of Peace

God’s promise of restoration was depicted in the two visions of Ezekiel. First, the vision of the dry bones and then the two sticks coming together as one. Once they are joined, we will enter the Covenant of Peace. (Ezekiel 37:26)

This will happen when Christ returns to earth and sets up His Kingdom. When God initiated the Covenant of the Law with Moses, he created the physical nation of Israel. When Jesus instituted the New Covenant of Redemption, God created the spiritual nation we call “the Church.”

Soon it will be time for God to bring these two together. Both the spiritual and the natural must be in perfect balance, so God can create for Himself “one new man” from the two that will bring true peace in an Age of Peace. (Ephesians 1:9-13, Ephesians 2:14-17).

In the Age of His Kingdom, Jesus will be the Prince of Peace. All things will balance out with His government. His judgment will root out evil. Once evil is removed, His Truth and Grace will be in balance with His Government of Peace. Jesus will reign, and we will be in the presence of God forever.

God’s Peace will be revealed, and we will experience the “peace that passes all understanding” to the full! (Philippians 4:7) We have His peace within our hearts, but on that day, complete peace will be established. Finally, the prophecy of God’s Presence among us will be fulfilled and we can say as Isaiah prophesied,

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time.”

(Isaiah 9:2-3)

It will be the greatest Dance of Joy ever!

Mandy


4 thoughts on “The Hope of God With Us

  1. Bettie G says:

    What a beautiful study outlining God’s movement in the past, present, and future to bring His people together to Himself! It’s so easy to get discouraged in these days of seeming chaos. But God is bringing HIS plan into fullness! What a day that will be, when we all will be together with Jesus! Blessings and prayers for you today, Dear Mandy.

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