Raising the Dead

OPENING PRAYER

Father God, through Your Word and the guiding hand of Your Spirit, may I see the world as You see it.

 

Read: EZEKIEL 37:1-14

[1] The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. [2] He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. [3] He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” [4] Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! [5] This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. [6] 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.'” [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. [8] I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. [9] Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet-a vast army. [11] Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’[12] Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. [13] Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. [14] I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'” 

 

Reflect: WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF THIS CONVERSATION?

God does the unexpected: he leads Ezekiel, a priest, into a ceremonially unclean situation–a valley of bones. To Ezekiel, unburied human bones were a clear sign of divine judgment (Deut. 28:25,26). These cursed, lifeless remains mirrored the spiritual state of God’s exiled people (11).  God’s question to Ezekiel is pivotal (3). Does Ezekiel believe that the cursed can be forgiven, the spiritually dead brought to life? It is a question for us too, as we walk among people who are spiritually dead and under God’s judgment. Is spiritual re-creation possible for people who appear to us to be so very far from God? In a graphic display, God demonstrates how he makes the seemingly impossible possible. With echoes of the creation story, God’s Word and his Spirit work together to restore–to re-create. The twist in this re-creation story is that God works through humans: he invited Ezekiel (4,9) and he invites and equips us (see Acts 2:17,18; Rom. 10:14,15) to be part of his re-creation process. 

 

APPLY

Respond to God’s invitation to join him in bringing new life to what was dead.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, it is not just Ezekiel, but also me whom You call to speak life to what has died in sin.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
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