Sunday, January 23, 2011

'Dem Bones, 'Dem Bones, 'Dem Old Dry Bones

In reading our Sunday School we learned about the Valley of Dry Bones. This is quite a fascinating story my friends. I have read these words before, but today as I read over the scripture once again, it really did come to life for me. This story comes from Ezekiel 37.

Here Ezekiel is having a vision. God is calling him to speak to a scattered group of old bones. Old, dried up bones. For me, I think I might have to pinch myself to make sure what I was seeing and hearing was true. I might even run the other way. It is like the scene of a horror film. I mean, can you imagine standing here watching these old bones come together. You hear them clanking about. Flesh becoming attached to bone. Lets read a bit before I get too far ahead of myself.

Ezekiel 37:1-8 "The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then 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.' Then He said to me, 'Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'" So 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. Then 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."

Does that just set your feet a blaze? Wow! What a mighty God we have! How can we read that and not be excited. When all hope is lost. When we feel as though we are at the end. When we find ourselves in the bottom of a pit, God is there. The question isn't so much as, "Can God bring these bones back to life, but will He?" The people of this time have witnessed miracles. They know God's power. They know He can bring man from death to life. This is a drastic picture here.

First, we have Ezekiel who is following God. He is obeying His every word. If God had called me to speak to a group of old bones I might look at Him and say, "Really God, are you sure?" I think I would be questioning myself more than Him. God can move all on His own. He doesn't need us to complete His work. This was not Ezekiel, this was God in all His glory. So we can learn, when God calls, answer. It's gonna be something bigger than we can ever imagine!

Second, these bones were scattered everywhere across the land. Ezekiel is transported right smack in the middle of these bones. They have been dead for some time. God brings these bones back together. He reconstructs them. He is in the business of reconstruction, isn't He? I have seen Him do so in my life. Here is a vision for others to witness. For others to see just what God can do. When we think all is lost. When we are ready to give up. When we think we are in the bottom of a pit, God is there in the midst of our sorrow. In Matthew 5:4 "God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Just what mourning is He speaking of? Could it be the mourning over our sin? What does sin do to us? It dries up our heart. It hardens every part of us. When we repent and come to Christ with humble hearts He will forgive and restore us. Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His glory."

No one likes discipline. But God's discipline is out of love. Just as a parents discipline is. He wants to see us be all He has created us to be. He wants us to serve and not be about ourselves, but Him and His kingdom. Sometimes, even for this stubborn girl, it takes more than a slap on the hand. Sadly, it can take me a few lessons before I really understand. Why is that? I want what I want when I want it. Now, if I live my life totally surrendered to God, it will always be about Him and it won't take me fifteen lessons to learn. I will hear His word and allow it to wash over me. Ever read your bible and think, "Ooh, so and so needs tor read this?" Um, if the Lord has sent us to that scripture, He is speaking to us my friends. Sometimes we don't want to think He has to correct us, but that is all part of growth. That is our Christian walk. In our intimate journey with Him we must be willing to listen and obey each command.

Ezekiel 37:10-14 "So 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. Then 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. 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. When this happens, O My people, you will know that I am the Lord. I 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!'"

Simply amazing!! What a word for us. We see once again God's promise to restore His people when we will humble ourselves. 2 Chronicles 7:14 "Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." Don't you love it when God brings it all together for us to understand?

I will end with Revelation 7:11 "But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. This is the story of the two witness'. They were dead for three days and God breathed life back into them. God restored them. He does this over and over in scripture. He breathes life into us when we think all is gone. He completes us with His everlasting love. We can find victory in God. We must lay our sin at His feet and allow surrender to happen. In doing so we find new life.

Our Sunday School teacher, Ms. Joy, left us with a question. What happened to all those who rose again? What did this great army of people do? I would love to hear your thoughts as I study this myself today.
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