There’s a town in California’s central valley that has been on my heart for the past week. It’s called Dos Palos, and it sits about 30 minutes southeast of Los Banos, which is at least an hour from anywhere.
Basically, it’s in the middle of nowhere. Dos Palos means “two sticks” and Los Banos means “the bathrooms”. So this town is actually two sticks about 30 minutes southeast of the bathrooms. Not very enticing is it?
Why has the town of two sticks been on my mind?
Because my friend just lost her father last week. He was the pastor of a church in Dos Palos for several years. His name was Marion Pryfogle. He was a man worthy of enormous respect and honor, and he is now, this very moment, rejoicing in the presence of the One who deserves ALL respect and glory and honor, Jesus Christ.
So what does all this have to do with Ezekiel?
In Ezekiel 37, God came to Ezekiel with a word and a picture for the people of Israel. The word was that God would join together the long separated kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The picture was of two sticks, with the name of Joseph, representing Israel, on one, and the name of Judah written on the other, that would fuse together in the sight of the people, indicating the intentions of the Lord for their reunification. This is what Ezekiel 37:21 and following says:
21 then say to (the people), Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22 And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God 24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
God’s people were divided, scattered throughout the nations, yet God’s plan was, and is, to gather them together under the King from David’s line, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And not only Israel, but we as well, who through Jesus have been grafted into the family of Abraham as children of God. God is taking His people who are scattered throughout the ends of the earth beyond the bathrooms and the two sticks and bringing them together into His holy city where we will rejoice in our Great Shepherd who is the Lamb slain for our sins.
We who trust in Christ will join Marion one day around the throne of grace, rejoicing in a God who loves to show His glory to and through people like us, who are really just two sticks southeast of the bathrooms.