Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Read Ezekiel 37:1-14
1The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones. 2He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign LORD,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! 5This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
7So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the LORD. 14I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken!’”
Parched and bleached by the sun, the brittle bones scattered across the valley presented a vision that summoned two words to the prophet’s mind – death and discouragement. The only thing more discouraging than the vision itself was the fact that God’s own people were represented by these dead bones. Israel was as good as dead, and their re-vitalization required God’s miraculous intervention.
Ezekiel’s vision reminds us that God is the author of life and that he alone miraculously brings vitality to us when we are dead in sin and wandering in the valley of death. We may at times wonder about friends or family we’ve prayed for over the years or situations that seem to be lifeless. We may even wonder about your church, when she seems to be struggling and not vital.
But notice v.10, as Ezekiel spoke, that is, as he trusted God and did what God called him to do, the dry bones lived. Bones came together, were wrapped by muscle and skin, and death was defeated. The bones began to thrive!
The lesson is that God is powerful and pleased to bring vitality to that which seems to be dry and lifeless. Ezekiel was unsure himself, but he trusted God and, in faith, did as God commanded. This new life is ultimately the new birth we experience in Jesus Christ, because he conquered death and rose from the grave. This vitality is promised to His Bride, the church, when we by faith trust in our Savior and follow his ways.
Father, sometimes I look around and see a lot of lifeless, listless apathy, and it can be discouraging. Help me to trust in your plan, your purpose and your power to bring life and vitality to me and to your bride, and to follow you faithfully. AMEN.