With the news of her homeland ruined, her beloved temple burned, the captives conceived of themselves as little more than the skeletal remains of their former selves. In their own minds, the notion that they would ever be a people, a nation, again, was beyond comprehension.
But in chapters 36-37, God assures them they will. He will, in a move more akin to the miraculous, make the impossible, possible.
With this promise comes another: God will give His people His Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God indwelt specific leaders of God’s people and made them successful in their calling. The Spirit was also a sign of God’s favor. But the Spirit was not present within the lives of all of Israel. That, the Lord says, will change. The day is coming when God will give His Spirit to all His people, and that Spirit will empower them to faithfulness.
The promise was renewed by Jesus and came true on the Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 2).
Israel however misunderstood these promises. They looked for a day of glory that would never come because they kept on living unfaithfully. If we imagine that we can keep living as we always have, and then suddenly God will usher in a magical age where all are faithful, we will be equally disappointed. The glory age is assured by God, but dependent upon our own behavior. As long as God’s people relegate God to any position but premier, the promises will always be disappointing.