Ezekiel was a prophet who had been captured and sent to Babylon before Jerusalem was destroyed. Ezekiel was shown a scroll in a vision and the Lord asked him to eat it, symbolically eating and filling himself with God’s word. Then the Lord told him to speak to the people, warning them of the consequences of their wickedness and teaching them that they could still repent and be changed. Those who had done wickedly could turn from their wickedness and become righteous and be saved.
Ezekiel was also told to warn Israel that they needed to be as shepherds and seek out the Lord’s lost flock and feed His sheep. In the last days the Lord will gather the lost sheep of Israel. We can help to gather the flock and be shepherds feeding His sheep, or in other words, gathering scattered Israel by sharing the gospel. The Lord says He will give Israel a new heart and a new spirit. We can also receive a new heart and new spirit as we learn to love the Lord, keep His commandments, and strive to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Ezekiel saw another vision of a valley of dry bones. The Lord told Ezekiel to say to the bones that the Lord would cause breath to enter into them and sinews and skin would cover them, and they would live. Ezekiel obeyed, and the bones were connected, covered, and came to life. With this vision the Lord taught Ezekiel about the resurrection, and also taught him about the restoration of the House of Israel. We can also learn that the Lord can bring new life and hope into us even when we are feeling spiritually or emotionally “dead” if we turn to Him.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.”
How can we fill ourselves with God’s word?
How can we be like shepherds and “feed His sheep?”
How does repentance bring us hope, a new heart, a new spirit, and new life?
“As disciples of Christ, we can in our day rise above those ancient Israelites who moaned, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost.’ Indeed, if we finally lose hope, we lose our last sustaining possession. So, when our backs are to the wall and, as the hymn says, ‘other helpers fail and comforts flee,’ among our most indispensable virtues will be this precious gift of hope linked inextricably to our faith in God and our charity to others.” Jeffrey R. Holland