“October 24–30. Ezekiel 1–3; 33–34; 36–37; 47: ‘A New Spirit Will I Put within You,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“October 24–30. Ezekiel 1–3; 33–34; 36–37; 47,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
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Ezekiel was a prophet in exile. Along with other Israelites, he had been captured and sent to Babylon several years before Jerusalem was finally destroyed. In Jerusalem, Ezekiel would have been a priest serving in the temple. In Babylon, he was among “them of the captivity,” and he “sat where they sat” (Ezekiel 3:15), hundreds of miles from the temple and with little hope of returning to the beloved house of God. Then one day Ezekiel had a vision. He saw “the glory of the Lord” (Ezekiel 1:28)—not back in the temple at Jerusalem but there in Babylon among the exiles. The wickedness in Jerusalem, he learned, had become so severe that God’s presence was no longer there (see Ezekiel 8–11; 33:21).
One of Ezekiel’s tasks was to warn the Israelites about the consequences of their rebellion—a warning that largely went unheeded. But there was more to Ezekiel’s message: he prophesied that, despite how bad things became, there was a way back. If God’s people would accept the invitation to “hear the word of the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4), what was once dead could be revived. A “stony heart” could be replaced with “a new heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). “[I] shall put my spirit in you,” the Lord told them, “and ye shall live” (Ezekiel 37:14). And in the last days, the Lord would establish a new temple and a new Jerusalem, “and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).
Reading about Ezekiel’s call to the ministry in Ezekiel 1–3 might prompt you to think about opportunities God has given you to “speak with [His] words” to others (Ezekiel 3:4). In Ezekiel 2–3, notice His words of encouragement and instruction to Ezekiel. Although the people you serve probably aren’t as rebellious as Ezekiel’s people, consider how God’s words to Ezekiel affect the way you view your service in the Church, at home, and elsewhere.
“If our … sins be upon us,” the captive Israelites wondered, “how should we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10). In response, the Lord taught them important truths about repentance and forgiveness. These questions might help you ponder those truths:
What do you think it means to “trust to [your] own righteousness”? (see Ezekiel 33:12–13).
In Ezekiel 34, the Lord refers to leaders of His people as “shepherds.” As you read, consider what this title suggests to you about what it means to be a leader. Who are the “sheep” the Lord wants you to feed? How can you follow the example the Savior sets as our shepherd? (see verses 11–31).
See also John 21:15–17.
The gathering of Israel is portrayed in Ezekiel 37 through two symbols. As you read about the first one—dead bones being restored to life (see verses 1–14)—ponder what you learn about gathering Israel on both sides of the veil (see also Ezekiel 36:24–30).
The second symbol (see verses 15–28) involves two sticks, which many scholars interpret as wooden writing boards joined by a hinge. The stick of Judah can represent the Bible (since much of the Bible was written by Judah’s descendants), and the stick of Joseph can represent the Book of Mormon (since Lehi’s family were descendants of Joseph of Egypt). With that in mind, what do these verses teach you about the role of the scriptures in the gathering of Israel? What does 2 Nephi 3:11–13 (a prophecy about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon) add to your understanding?
See also 2 Nephi 29:14; “The Book of Mormon Gathers Scattered Israel” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Ezekiel 33:1–5.To illustrate these verses, one family member could pretend to be a “watchman” by looking out a window and telling the rest of the family what is happening outside. How is our living prophet like a watchman for us?
Ezekiel 33:15–16.What do these verses teach us about the forgiveness we can receive through Jesus Christ?
Ezekiel 36:26–27.Show your family some stones as you discuss what it means to have a “stony heart.” Let them suggest words that describe the “new heart” and “new spirit” the Savior gives us (see Mosiah 3:19; 5:2).
Ezekiel 37:15–28.Family members could find two sticks and write on one For Judah (Bible) and on the other For Joseph (Book of Mormon) (see verses 16–19). They could then share stories or scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon that help them feel closer to the Savior and become “[His] people” (verse 23).
Ezekiel 47:1–12.These verses describe Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing from the temple and healing the Dead Sea—a sea so salty that fish and plants cannot live in it. Children might enjoy drawing a picture of this vision. What could the water flowing from the temple symbolize? (see the video “And the River Will Grow,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org). How does the temple help heal us? (see Ezekiel 47:8–9, 11).
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd,” Hymns, no. 221.