unity and purity
Ezekiel 37:15-23 (JDV)
Ezekiel 37:15 The word of Yahveh happened to me. This is what it said:
Ezekiel 37:16 “Son of Adam, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph – the stick of Ephraim – and all the house of Israel associated with him.
Ezekiel 37:17 Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand.
Ezekiel 37:18 When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to us what you mean by these things? ‘ –
Ezekiel 37:19 Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord Yahveh says: notice I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in my hand.’
Ezekiel 37:20 “When the sticks you have written on are in your hand and in full view of the people,
Ezekiel 37:21 Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord Yahveh says: notice I am going to take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them into their own land.
Ezekiel 37:22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms.
Ezekiel 37:23 They will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, their repulsive things, and all their rebellions. I will save them from all their apostasies by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God.
unity and purity
The LORD was not interested in reuniting the two kingdoms without purifying them of idolatry. A united kingdom was not part of his agenda if that united kingdom continued to rebel against him. So, the prophet was instructed to unite the two sticks, and to explain that both kingdoms would be united under a single king — a king loyal to Him.
Often we attempt unity only to sacrifice purity. God is not in that. He does not want us to unify with those who are disloyal to Him. He does not want us to sacrifice integrity to gain strength in numbers. A unity bought with compromise is obtained at too heavy a price.
LORD, unify us under our one king — with a pure conscience.