The children of Israel were scattered. The northern tribes were carried off into exile by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, the southern tribes by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. The hope of bringing back the northern tribes was remote; the present exiles, to whom Ezekiel ministered, still had memories of home and hoped one day to return. But even more remarkable about God’s word through Ezekiel, was that God would unite the two fractious states which had been separated for over 350 years. It seemed unlikely.
Unlikely as the story of two families locked in a feud of more than 50 years. For reasons only known to him, the father left the family farm to the younger of two brothers which caused a rift that left neither family associating with the other. The feud carried on until one brave little great-granddaughter of one family dared befriend a great-granddaughter of the other. Slowly the families were reunited.
God likes unity. Jesus prayed that all disciples would be one in him and one in God. It hasn’t happened yet, not because God lacks the power but because we lack the will.
God of unity, bring your people together in Christ our Lord. Amen. — DAB