Tuesday, March 28, 2017

There is hope

"Valley Full of Bones" - James Shaw Crompton
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 37:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and have brought you up from your graves." Ezekiel 37:13

What a graphic scene of hopelessness we see in Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.

1. The situation was VERY hopeless.
"...there were very many (bones) in the open valley and indeed they were very dry" (Ezekiel 37:2).

2. Bringing the bones to life involved action on Ezekiel's part:
God challenged his FAITH:
God: "...can these bones live?"
Ezekiel: "O God, You know."

God called for his OBEDIENCE:
God: "Prophesy..."
Ezekiel: "So I prophesied as I was commanded" (Ezekiel 37:3,4)

3. The fulfillment of the prophecy came in STAGES.
First the bones came together (Ezekiel 37:7-8). Then breath inhabited them (Ezekiel 37:10). Finally the revived army of people left the graveyard to again live in their own land (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

4. Of course this isn't about a literal crowd of people coming back to life but about the resurrection of HOPE (Ezekiel 37:11). And in that way, this passage speaks powerfully to us. For the same Spirit who gave life to the dead situation of people in exile in Ezekiel's time, is ours.

This prophecy came true in 538 B.C. when Cyrus the Great allowed the people to return home, as recorded in Ezra 1 and 2. 

We see:
  • A hopeless situations is no obstacle to God. He can breathe life back into it.
  • That process may require action on our part. We need to be listening for any instructions and be quick to obey.
  • The fulfillment may take a while and come in stages.
  • Our situation will probably not be an issue of our nation returning from exile, as Israel's was. Let's claim God the Spirit's ability to breathe life ("I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live...") into whatever our boneyard situations are, be they broken families, prodigal children, fractured churches, severed relationships, bankruptcy, financial ruin, storm-damaged houses, etc.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that Your power can bring the most hopeless situation back to life. Please give me faith to believe this and act in obedience when I can be part of the solution. Amen.

MORE: Dry bones in art

St. Nicholas' Church in Deptford England has on display wonderful carvings of the "Valley of the Dry Bones" by Grinling Gibbons (a contemporary of Christopher Wren). Read more about the church and view the carvings here.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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