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The Valley of Dry Bones Pt. 3

If you haven’t been keeping up with the blog the past few days this is the third and final post in “The Valley of Dry Bones” series. I would urge you to read part 1 and part 2 before reading this last post.

We have looked at Ezekiel 37 1-10 and made application from it. Today we will look at verses 11-14 which reads:

11 Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.’”

Photo Credit: wikipaintings.org

In the previous 10 verses Ezekiel speaks to the mass of dry bones. They all come together and God gives them life by instilling his Spirit in them. In this final section we see the reason for Ezekiel’s vision.

In verse 11 God speaks to Ezekiel saying, “these bones are the whole house of Israel.” God’s purpose is to share with  Ezekiel that there will be a national revival. God is going to change the nation’s direction by raising people to life. Israel had turned their backs on God several times proving their spiritual deadness. Notice what the people of Israel are going to say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.

Their bones are dry. Their hope is lost. They’re cut off from God, but God has the power to restore them.

God knows that the people of Israel will say these things. When they do repeat those words Ezekiel is to give them God’s answer found in verses 12-14. The interesting thing is that God repeats the phrase, “you shall know that I am the Lord“. God’s purpose in raising people to life is so that they will know himself. Like we discussed in part 2 God needs to put together the bodies of his people. This theme is clearly seen in verse 13 when he says:

And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.” 

God says that he will raise his people from their graves.

This is equal to the dry bones of the valley coming together and the bodies becoming complete corpses. However, there is more that is needed…they need life. We see this fulfilled in verse 14 when God says:

And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.

God promises that he will raise their bodies from the grave and insert his Spirit of life inside them so they will live.

And why does God do this?  So that they will “know that I am the Lord“.

God is the one who resurrects, God is the one who saves, and God is the one who gets ALL the glory!

 

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The Valley of Dry Bones Pt. 2

Yesterday we looked at Ezekiel 37:1-6 in “The Valley of Dry Bones Pt.1“. We saw the crazy command of God for Ezekiel to speak to bones about word of God. We also applied that text to our lives by answering the question, “Why should we evangelize?”

Today we will focus on Ezekiel 37: 7-10. Here is what the text says:

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 

Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’ 

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

I love this section of Scripture. It gives us great imagery of God’s life-giving power. It also shows us what is able to happen when we, as believers, follow what God commands of us.

As mentioned in part 1 of this series God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the dry bones. When Ezekiel follows God’s command we see an amazing thing happen in verses 7-8. First, Ezekiel hears the dry bones rattling. The bones in the valley start moving banging into each other and making the sound of, what I imagine would be, thousands of rattling snakes. Then, each bone finds its former place, cartilage (sinews) attach, muscles and organs get into place (flesh), and skin covers the bodies.

Ezekiel mentions in verse 8 that, “there was no breathe in them.” They were still dead but now they looked more like fresh corpses you would find on the show “CSI” then the dry bones you would find on “Bones”. Regardless of the state of either the dry bones or the fully put together corpses they are still missing one thing…life.

I think this is like the reactions we see when we evangelize. We, as Christians, know that we are talking to spiritually dead people. People that do not have ears to hear or eyes to see. But, when the person that we are talking to starts to understand where we are coming from it is similar to what Ezekiel sees in this part of the vision. Everything gets set in proper place but God still has work to do.

God needs to instill his life in their bodies. Ezekiel shows us this in verses 9-10.

In verse 9 we see God gives Ezekiel another command to prophesy over the dead when he says, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.

Again, we see the faithfulness of Ezekiel. For most of us seeing the bodies coming together would be enough for us to remain faithful but they are still dead. Technology today has given us amazing advances in medicine. We have machines that can resuscitate people. We can even transplant organs from one person to another. However, I have never heard of a case where a corpse that was dead, and through medical means, was given life. So, for me it shows great faithfulness for Ezekiel to follow God’s command in speaking to these dead bodies. And as Ezekiel begins to prophesy an amazing thing happens as seen in verse 10:

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

When we follow the commands of God to go out and tell dead people about the life-giving power of God sometimes we get the blessing of seeing what Ezekiel saw. It is not exactly the same because we do not preach to physically dead people but we do preach to spiritually dead people. It is amazing when I hear stories of people coming to faith in Christ. I’m floored when I get the privilege to see people’s eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. We preach because we want to be the instrument God uses to give people life. We are all blessed to be used by God in this way.

When I was in high school I went on a couple of mission trips. I remember the missionary speaking to us about his work and he said something that will always stick in my mind. He said, “The greatest miracle is when a heart turns from darkness to light.”

May we all thank God for the miracle he has done in our lives, the miracles he has done in others, and the miracles he has yet to do.

How Does God View You?

I have always been a bigger kid. Even when I was a little tyke I was chubby and most of the time my clothes didn’t fit me well. Unfortunately, the clothes still don’t fit me that well. I have learned not place my worth on my own merits but this wasn’t always the case.

Photo Credit: mimiandeunice.com/2011/04/29/instant-self-esteem/

Just like many young people today I struggled with “self-esteem” issues. I would get picked on in school and come home feeling worthless because I felt others viewed me that way…worthless. When I tried to boost my self-confidence it would always come through sports. I wanted to be the best in whatever sport I was playing because that gave me worth. Even if it were for fun I would play with extreme competitiveness to win and that was supposed to make me feel better about myself. But, that didn’t work! I realized that I was never going to be the best at sports and that realization dragged me down again.

For me, sports gave me a false sense of worth. That is the problem with “self-esteem” when we rely on ourselves to give us worth we see we are worthless. When we look into ourselves we see a person who is dirty, dark, and disgusting. I knew I needed change and I looked for it. Want to know what I found?

I discovered that “self-esteem” is a counterfeit for God-esteem. It sounds like a bad cliché but it is true. The only way one can realize their worth is through their standing with God. And as believers in Christ it is crucial to know how God views us and why he views us the way he does. Romans 8: 31-35a gives us the answer:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” 

As a believer no one’s condemnation can come against you…not even your own. God calls you elected. God calls you justified. God says that Jesus intercedes for you and that you will never be separated from the love of Christ. And all of this was given to you by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

 So, if you are struggling with how you view yourself just ask this question…”How does God view me?”

That answer is the only answer that matters!

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