Discover His heart: He longs to resurrect and restore all that is dry and dead.
“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…Now hear the word of the Lord,” says the old spiritual taken from Ezekiel 37 that was used in the past to teach children about anatomy. “Toe bone connected to the foot bone, foot bone connected to the leg bone,” and on it goes.
Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones was spectacular and breath-taking as the Lord said to him, “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!’… 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.” (4-7) Can you imagine? I envision a few sheep now and then, but this is way beyond my pay grade.
The Jewish exiles were discouraged about their predicament and rightly so. They had lost their nation and their glorious temple of worship and found themselves living far from home in Babylon, but God sat poised and ready to restore them, “I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock.” (36:37) After all that God had endured through their sinfulness and rejection of Him, He was waiting for them to pray, to call on Him once again, and then He would restore all that they had lost.
“The bones that covered the valley floor…were scattered everywhere across the ground.”(2) The bones were exposed, not buried, for all of heaven to see – He had not forgotten them. This is the nature of our God. He waits for individuals, for churches, for nations to pray, to repent, and then He resurrects and restores that which seemed dry and dead and brings life once again.
The prophet joined God’s resurrection process when he spoke the prophetic message. When we are focused on anything in our lives that resembles those old dry bones, whether it is our nation, our church or our loved ones and friends, we are challenged to participate in the resurrection. We can pray! And when we pray, should the Lord reveal a prophetic word to us, we can speak!
Israel has experienced a commotion and shaking ever since those days in exile. Those bones have come together, the nation has returned to its homeland in part, and we pray and wait with them for that breath of the Spirit. “Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again,” (9) and give new spiritual life to them as believers in Jesus Christ, their Messiah.
Likewise, we shouldn’t be surprised if there is a commotion, a rattling if you will, when we pray because God may choose to shake things up a little to bring about resurrection in our situation. If we are discouraged with the condition of our nation, with the dryness and lack of life in our church or with our loved ones who seem so dead to the things of God, remember that He sees those dry bones exposed before Him. He will respond to our call for the Spirit to come and breathe life into them so they may live again. This is the nature of our God. “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…Now hear the word of the Lord!”
Moving Forward: Thinking about our nation today, I will put aside discouragement and continue to pray for the Spirit to breathe life into us once again!
Tomorrow @ Luke 23-24