The chapter I chose today deals with a prophesy given to Ezekial about a valley of dry bones. He is taken to a place where there are skeletal remains all over the place, totally picked clean, dried up by the sun and time. God leads him around the valley, then through it, experiencing the full vastness of its expanse and the multitude of bones contained there. We probably won't experience anything like this, but there is significant meaning within this prophesy for the nation of Israel. I also think there could be a lesson or two for us, if we look close enough!
Then God said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they’re saying: ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there’s nothing left of us.’ “Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’” (Ezekial 37:11-14 The Message)
In order to get as much out of this as possible, I am going to take you on a little "word journey", so bear with me!
- A huge valley filled with DRY bones. No signs of life - DRY. If God were to look at our lives, would he see staleness, a lack of freshness - people no longer communicating warmth, enthusiasm, or tender feelings?
- Bones without FLESH. They may have rotted away by time, circumstance, or the lack of no longer being fed. I wonder what the impact of time has done to us? Or perhaps the involvement in circumstances spinning beyond our control, or the simple lack of taking time to feed upon that which maintains life? These bones may have been picked clean - by the predators all around them. How many of us suffer the impact of "predators" without even realize we are being "picked clean"?
- No APPEARANCE of hope for resuscitation. In the eyes of man, there seems to be little hope. They are dead by all of man's estimation and human understanding. But...when God sees them, his estimation and understanding see life. Perspective is everything!
- Hear the WORD of the Lord! The word of God will always bring a commotion, a stirring, and a rattling of our "dry bones". Sometimes this stirring is not enough - we still are nothing more than revived corpses! We might have "new flesh", but just looking "new" on the outside is no assurance there is something "new" on the inside!
- BREATHE that they may live! It is the breathe of God which brings them alive on the INSIDE! They rise as a multitude - an army of warriors. Alive because of the moving of the Holy Spirit over their lives. We are made alive in the same manner - through his movement. It is his "giving of breath" which revives.
Sometimes we are no more than unrelated parts - dry bones scattered to the far corners of the earth. We can remain as dry bones - disconnected, unrelated, scattered. When we do, we live "disconnected" lives. As a result, we lack the strength and capacity of "corporate" unity. In this state, we are prey to the predators of our lives - sin, evil, distraction, deception, etc. The winds of adversity will take us down. The circumstances of life will drain us further. The trials will leave us defenseless. We are open to being carried off by our predators because we aren't connected and alive!
We can settle for a week-to-week existence. You know the kind I mean - come to church each week, get a touch of life, then be drained by the time the week is even over! Or we can know the vitality of life - as God intends it - a living, breathing organism of grace.
Some things I want us to see about the wind:
- It rattles - rousing us from our slumber. Sometimes we don't even know we have lost our alertness to the things of God. It is the breath of God's Spirit, moving over our lives, which rouses us. Maybe we need a little "wind" in our sails again!
- It shakes - stirring again feelings long left untouched. The wind has a way of stirring what it touches. In fact, this is how we know the wind is actually there - we see and feel its movement across our lives. There are areas of our lives which have not been "moved upon" in a long time. Maybe today is the day for God to "move us" - opening us to new possibilities in him.
- It moves - causing us to change our position. Watch the wind sometime and what you see is the effect of it upon that which it touches. There is much to be said about the wind bringing a change of position. Sometimes it is the movement which uncovers that which has been hidden for a long, long time!
- It draws - pulling us out of the "crannies" of apathy. Things get stuck from time to time. We get apathetic to the stuff we become the most familiar with, don't we? It is the wind of the Spirit which "unsticks" us.
- It drives - moving us forward when nothing else will. Sometimes the influence of the wind is to move what has been stationary for far too long. Things which have been rigid and unchanging. We all need a little "nudging" sometimes, don't we?
The Spirit is what gives dead bones new life. The purpose of the bones was in the formation of a vast army - not a solitary existence. The army was not sparse, weak, or ill-equipped. In fact, it was vast - numberless, large, great in number! This type of army will make its presence known. It is not easy to hide an army such as this! Just sayin!