TWO DRY STICKS BEING JOINED
In the second part of the chapter, the Lord told Ezekiel to pick up two sticks representing the northern and the southern kingdoms of Israel (37:16-17). Ezekiel dealt first with the dry bones, and then he dealt with the dry sticks. A stick is something wooden, yet it is dead. It is cut off and dried up. These two sticks symbolized the two kingdoms of Israel, the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom. Those two kingdoms could never be one. In the eyes of the Lord they were thoroughly dead and dried up. How could two dry sticks be one? The Lord has a way. It is the way of life. The Lord made the two sticks alive, and putting them together, made them grow together. When two branches are grafted together, they grow as one tree. This is exactly what is mentioned here. The two sticks were like two branches. Formerly they had no life, but then they were made alive. In the first part of Ezekiel 37, life came in through the breath of God. By putting these two parts of the chapter together, we can see that the two sticks now had life. Because they had life, they were able to grow with one another and to become one. The bones are for forming the army, but the sticks are for the building of the house of God. They had been divided, but now they were one and had become the dwelling place of God. They were the army fighting the battle for God, and they were also the house of God as His dwelling place.
THE WAY OF LIFE
Christians today talk much about the Body and about the church life and about the house of God. But they do not see the practical way to have the Body and the church and the house of God. In this chapter we can see clearly that there is no other way except the way of life. The way of life is the unique way. How can two dry sticks grow together? Can they grow by teachings or by gifts? They can grow only by the way of life. The Lord did not tell Ezekiel to exercise his gifts or to teach, but to prophesy, to utter some words, to speak forth some words for God. As Ezekiel declared something to the dead ones, God blew upon them and they breathed in the breath. When the breath came into them, they became alive. It is by life that the two dry sticks could grow together. We can never be one by gifts and teachings; we can be one only by life.
Oh, we all need the blowing of the wind and the breathing of the Spirit! We need the breath as the life-giving Spirit. Then we all can grow in life. Life is a wonderful thing. It takes care of so many problems. Our physical body can overcome many problems simply because it is living. Life takes care of problems. In the church life we do not need gifts or teachings; we need life. By the inner life and by the growth of life, the two dead branches will receive life and grow into one another. They will have oneness issuing out of the growth in life. If we pay attention to gifts or teachings, we will surely be divided. We all need to see something better, something higher, which is life, the inner life, and the growth in life. First comes the blowing of the wind, followed by the breathing. Then comes the life-giving Spirit. All the dry bones become alive and become one. Finally they become an army fighting the battle for the Lord. Likewise, all the dry sticks become alive and grow up into one another. By the growth of life they are one and have no more divisions.
ONENESS BY LIFE
How we praise the Lord that in His recovery we have oneness! Although we came from many different kinds of backgrounds, today we are one. We are one not by gifts or by teachings, but by life. In the Lord’s recovery, we have many ex-pastors, ex-missionaries, ex-ministers, and ex-Bible teachers, but all of these are now one in life. We do not care for opinions, we only care for life. We are not one in gifts; we are one in life. Because we are alive, we are one. Now we are an army fighting the battle.
When the saints migrate, they are an army fighting the battle. We can never have proper migrations if we do not have oneness. It is so good that in the migrations, some come from different parts of the country to be one in a city. They come together to be one, not in teachings or in gifts, but in life. Thank the Lord! We are the dwelling place of the Lord, and we are the army. Today the Lord has a home, not in a physical building, but in a group of living persons. All the local churches today on the earth are one home to the Lord. Because we all were made alive, we can grow together. Though some may be from New Zealand and others from Germany, we still are one home. We are one home not by gifts, not by teachings, but by life. Hallelujah! We are the army; we are the dwelling place, the sanctuary! The army was formed with the dry bones, and the sanctuary was built with the dry sticks. Now none is dry. Every part is alive, full of life, having the oneness. This is the Lord’s recovery.
Following chapter thirty-seven are two further chapters on judgment. If we will go on with the Lord in oneness as an army and a dwelling place of the Lord on the earth, the Lord will take care of all our enemies. Hallelujah! The Lord will take care of the enemies! Do not think that since we are an army, we will have no enemies, and do not think that since we are one as the Lord’s dwelling place, we will have no battles. There is still the enemy, but the Lord will take care of him. In Ezekiel 35 there is Edom, the enemy within, and in 38 and 39 there is the enemy without. We have to judge the enemy within us, but the Lord will take care of the enemy without. Praise the Lord! As long as we are one, the Lord will fight the battle for us. He will deal with our enemy, who is His enemy, also. Hallelujah, we can be in the church life in peace and safety. When we deal with the inward enemy, our old man, the Lord will take care of the outward enemy and a strong church life will be built up to be "an exceeding great army" and the Lord’s sanctuary on this earth.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)