It can be difficult to make a “stand” for something or someone when we feel like we are doing it alone, but as a movement, a body of believers and a church we are never alone. In the story of two sticks we can identify three key elements that may have some relevance and application for us within Elim at this time.
In Ezekiel 37:15-19 this is what it says…
“15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph - the stick of Ephraim - and all the house of Israel associated with him. 17 Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to by God to take two sticks. He is to write something different on each one that describes difference of belonging and identity. We are not given any detail as to what the two sticks looked like but I would guess they possibly were of different appearance, size and length. God didn’t tell the prophet to divide the sticks and keep them as far away from each other as possible. He didn’t tell Ezekiel to damage one stick with the other stick or make us what you mean by these things?’ - 19 tell them: This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in My hand.”
‘Sticking’ Together and Identity (v.16)
Notice that the prophet is told one stick to look the same as the other or even to have the two sticks clash with and cross each other. Instead He instructed Ezekiel to put the sticks together. Respecting their appearance and size and condition - “put the two of them together” God said. They were distinctively different but commanded to be together side by side.
‘Sticking’ Together and Unity (v.17)
God says “join them together into a single (“united”) stick so that they become one (“together”) in your hand”. This is not meant to illustrate some loose afﬁliation or ‘tolerable proximity’, rather this is meant to indicate the strongest possible connection, partnership and togetherness. This visual aid was not intended to demonstrate some economic, ecclesiastical, or political convenience but rather to offer a prophetic spiritual message of future possibility.
‘Sticking’ Together and Legacy
When Israel came to the promised land it was understood that all the tribes had to ﬁght for each other in order to subdue their enemies, take the land and receive their inheritance. For any tribe, not to ﬁght for their fellow
Israelites would mean not only loss to the nation as a whole but loss to their own tribe as well.
So, the ‘win, win’ situation was that you serve the purpose of God side by side and ﬁght together for the promised land and by so do doing you are blessed and God’s kingdom is advanced.
Elim holds a unique position in terms of the Kingdom of God here on this island of Ireland. The Movement was birthed by a move of God in Monaghan before partition.
We have two major identities and cultures operating in this land and we can view this reality as a problem to be tolerated or avoided, or an as an opportunity to be grasped. There are two ‘sticks’ on this island. But placed together in the hand of God they can be an instrument or weapon to advance His purposes and plans for Ireland. Let us be those who come together, stick together and ﬁght together for God’s kingdom and will at this time.