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Monday, June 11, 2018

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Ezekiel has been called a "street preacher," fearlessly going around Babylon and Jerusalem declaring God's word and judgment to a people in exile. In Ezekiel's world, all that was known and precious to God's people had been pulled up by the roots and transplanted on foreign soil, resulting in misery and death. Fittingly they could ask, "Is all lost?"

Then, after chapters of judgement, we come to this ray of hope as we hear God's plan for the future. God makes it clear that God is the one who will be doing the work here. God repeatedly uses "I" expressions: "I myself... will set, break, plant, dry up, make flourish, etc." Twelve times God makes sure the people know that this sprig of salvation is God's doing. God's gardening efforts will bring life through fruit. The reader of today through the lens of the gospel knows that another "tender one" will also bring ultimate life through death. Indeed, all is not lost. Everything--by God's hand--has been gained.

God of life, you are the great I Am. Thank you for the rebirth that comes from your hand through Christ. Amen.

Laurie Neill, '12
Discipleship Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND

Ezekiel 17:22-24 (NRSV)

22 Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. 24 All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.