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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 249: Two become One

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 35-37

Judah, the son of Jacob (Israel) who received the blessing, and Joseph, the favored son of Jacob (Israel) who saved his family, are two strong threads throughout the Old Testament. Though sent into exile with the tribes of their other 10 brothers, God now prophecies through Ezekiel that these two tribes, the descendants of these two brothers, will become bound together and be served by one king. The split kingdoms will no longer exist after the return of the exiles.

Think of all the time, blood, sorrow and agony that has passed. The family feud and the idolatry of the nation's people have thwarted God's will for his people. But in God's faithfulness, though the plan has been delayed and even pronounced as dead as dry bones, God's will will be accomplished by the fresh blowing breath of God's mighty Spirit.

As bone joins to bone and flesh joins to flesh in the valley, and as the prophet sets aside two common sticks, marks them as God's own and binds them together, God proclaims God's power and God's faithfulness.

All of this symbolism reminds me so strongly of the marriage covenant. Two opposing sexes, meant to bless one another, often torn by the idolatry of pride or the iniquity of an arguing spirit, are bound in the sight of God by vows which hold them together.

"The two shall become one!" proclaims God.

Bone will join bone,
flesh will join flesh,
mind will join mind,
blood will join blood.

"And I will blow my breath, my Spirit, upon them.
And they shall be ruled by me, the one King, the LORD."

Today, LORD,
keep our unions free from
the waste of time,
the shedding of blood,
the creating of sorrow and agony.
Do not allow us to exile one another.
Instead, bring us together in love
bound and breathed upon by your most
Holy Spirit.
Breathe into those slain
that they may live.

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