“Say to the mountains of Israel, you won’t stay desolate forever, but your cities will be rebuilt, your vines will grow and bear fruit, and my people will return, then you will never again bear insults from other nations of how you destroyed men.”
“Zeke… when Israel lived in the land, they were like a woman on her period, which is just gross, am I right? So I beat the living snot out of them and kicked them out. But now, I’m hearing the nations of the world talk crap about me saying, “Yahweh must be a pretty weak deity if we were able to destroy and kidnap his people.””
“I’m not going to take that crap, so I guess I’m going to let Israel back into the land, so that everyone will know I’m a strong god. I’ll purify my people, give them a new heart to do what I say, and pour out my Spirit upon them. They will stop sinning and I’ll bless them with abundance. But I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for Me.
Then God takes Zeke to a valley filled with skeletons.
“Zeke, do you think these bones can live again?”
“You know the answer, Lord.”
“Speak to the bones and tell them they will live again.”
So Zeke speaks to the bones and they grow back organs and muscles and flesh.
“Brains…” they said.
“Uh… keep speaking, Zeke. I’ve got a few kinks to work out.”
“Okay, zombie apocalypse averted. Zeke, those bones were like the house of Israel. They think they’re completed dead now, but go tell them that I will raise them up from their ‘death’ and cause them to come home.
“Now, take a stick and write “Judah” and it and take a stick and write “Israel” on it and join them together in your hand, and the two sticks will become one. And if anyone asks you about it-“
“Israel and Judah will be reunited. Got it. This isn’t exactly a difficult object lesson and no one needed to die to tell it.”
“Well, did you know that I’ll make David their king?”
“The guy who raped his friend’s wife and killed his friend and presided over three civil wars?”
“Yeah… but he wrote some nice songs about me.”
“If I recall, most of those songs were of the “Help me, where the hell are you, Lord?” variety.”
“Shut up. Anyway, the kingdom will be perfect.”