Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ezekiel 37: Dem Dry Bones

From Garden to City reading:  Ezekiel 37

Honestly, I'm sort of done with Ezekiel.  I don't understand it, most of it.  It seems pretty dry and lifeless, and I really need some encouragement.  

Just for fun, I looked up some songs on YouTube that go with this passage from Ezekiel 37.  You remember the old Negro spiritual . . .   You can watch the Delta Rhythm Boys sing the song or maybe you'd rather watch Herman Munster.  

Okay, enough fun.  Back to Ezekiel.  

It's books like this that get in the way with going through the Bible in a year.  I totally get the value of prophecy books.  I get the value of understanding God's grace to Israel.  I get it.  

But I'm really tired of hearing about their cycles of rebellion.  
Will they ever come around?  Really?  

We know God returns them to Israel.  We know that because Jesus is born in Bethlehem.  There's a temple then and sacrifices.  There's a high priest.  And the Pharisees make sure that the people follow the law.  

They're not worshiping idols in the temple anymore.  That's good.  But now the law because of the focus of their existence.  And not just God's law, but a few extra rules that the priests and the Pharisees threw in.  Just to make sure people didn't rebel against God.  

But I digress.  
My point is, will these people ever come around?

And that's where Ezekiel 37 comes in.  For all intents and purposes, the people of Israel have no spiritual life in them.  Oh, there are men and women who love God with all their hearts, but for the most part, as a whole, they are doing their best to follow their religion rather than seeking the source of their faith.  

And God gives Ezekiel a vision, a vision we have yet to see come to place.  He shows him a valley of dry bones.  They're all dried up.  No flesh.  No life, obviously.  And God asks Ezekiel, "Son of man, can these bones live?"  

Ezekiel says, "Yeah, God.  I don't really know, but I guess you do."

And God says, "Okay, watch."

He says, 
Prophesy to these bones and say to them, "Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! his is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD."
And so Ezekiel prophesies, and he hears a rattling sound as the bones come together, and muscles and tendons and flesh begins to cover the bones.  But there's still no life in the bones.  And God tells Ezekiel to prophecy breath into them.  And he does.

And these bodies come to life.

And this is what God will do with Israel.  He will put his Spirit into them and they will live.  They will know that God is Lord, and they will worship him again.

And although this passage is specifically for Israel, it represents what God can do in each of our lives, in our families, and in our churches.

Father, breathe your Spirit and new life into my heart, into all our hearts, into our churches.

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