In our reading of the prophets, we’ve noticed that some speak to or about the Northern Kingdom, Israel. Some speak to the Southern Kingdom, Judah. And some speak to both.
When these early prophets speak of God’s people, they often spoke of two groups, because that’s precisely what they were. By Ezekiel’s day, however, the Northern Kingdom was no more, having been vanquished by Assyria nearly 150 years previously. Yet Ezekiel speaks to both nations (see chapters 9 and 25) and, more than that, often speaks of both nations together as one nation as in the days before Solomon’s death. If you remember the nations divided, and that one was Judah and another was Israel, you may have had trouble in figuring out what the prophet was saying about whom.
But in Ezekiel 37, God is plain. His people of the north have not ceased to exist. He knows what has happened to them and He knows where they are. He wants Judah to understand that, and He want them to know His intent to reunite them again into one nation with one name, a name that reminds them that their real struggle has not been with nations or men of this world, but with God. That is, after all, what “Israel” means – “he struggles with God.”
All too often we blame our struggles in this life on things of the world. The real problem, however, is not the world, but that we have embraced entirely too much of it, and our struggle is with God.