Can These Bones Live?

 1Some time later, I felt the LORD’s power take control of me, and his Spirit carried me to a valley full of bones. 2The LORD showed me all around, and everywhere I looked I saw bones that were dried out. 3He said, “Ezekiel, son of man, can these bones come back to life?”

   I replied, “LORD God, only you can answer that.”

    4He then told me to say:

   Dry bones, listen to what the LORD is saying to you, 5“I, the LORD God, will put breath in you, and once again you will live. 6I will wrap you with muscles and skin and breathe life into you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

    7I did what the LORD said, but before I finished speaking, I heard a rattling noise. The bones were coming together! 8I saw muscles and skin cover the bones, but they had no life in them.

    9The LORD said:

   Ezekiel, now say to the wind, [a] “The LORD God commands you to blow from every direction and to breathe life into these dead bodies, so they can live again.” 10As soon as I said this, the wind blew among the bodies, and they came back to life! They all stood up, and there were enough to make a large army.

    11The LORD said:

   Ezekiel, the people of Israel are like dead bones. They complain that they are dried up and that they have no hope for the future. 12So tell them, “I, the LORD God, promise to open your graves and set you free. I will bring you back to Israel, 13and when that happens, you will realize that I am the LORD. 14My Spirit will give you breath, and you will live again. I will bring you home, and you will know that I have kept my promise. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Ezekiel 37

 

Ezekiel is transported to a place where things like this happen and are not considered overly exotic or strange.  He is not freaked out with this, or the transformation of bones to people.  (Although I’m sure his blood-pressure went high for a bit.)  Ezekiel looks over this valley of human bones that are beyond the point of decay.  In a moment of time there is a reanimation, bones get connected with other bones, and scattered remains become complete corpses.

Ezekiel is obviously astonished.  He extrapolates off of what he sees, and it is indeed a complete army, and it is ready to step out to do God’s Will.  It is critical to see that there is no apparent effort, no real perspiring by God to energize these bones.  God wills it, and its done.  No fuss, no muss.  It just— happens.

As we consider our own transformation  (and it really is that) we can be confident that it presents no great issue to our Lord to bring you life.  We view His promises from our personal perspective.  But that is all wrong.  Often we nullify many good things because of our issues of personal doubt.

Resurrection life is offered to us, if we will just reach out and take it.  It’s not rocket science, ‘presto-chango.’  But it is sufficient to put the resurrection into these hard, dry hearts.  The track record of the Kingdom of God has a phenomenal growth pattern.  (You could grow hair on billiard ball if God enabled it!)

“Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God. 11 God raised Jesus from the dead, and if God’s Spirit is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies that die. God is the One who raised Christ from the dead, and he will give life through[a] his Spirit that lives in you.”  

Romans 8:10-11, NCV

Confidence in His ability is desperately needed in the Church right now.  Life in a resurrection sense has to be returned back into our fellowships.  People are waiting, in skeletal piles, for God to do something amazing again.  So many wait, and we are the Ezekiels.  We do not have the power to resurrect anyone.  But we do have the power to pray.  And we know Jesus’ has the power to raise the dead.

Polluted Hearts

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

John 10:3

But God’s strong foundation continues to stand. These words are written on the seal: “The Lord knows those who belong to him,” and “Everyone who wants to belong to the Lord must stop doing wrong.”

 

2 Timothy 2:19

Identity is necessary.  We can only prosper if we know who and exactly what we are.  This may seem basic, but it’s coming at us through a culture that is murky and foul.  The world offers up an evil concoction that pollutes and contaminates all that it can.

Our identity is exclusively based on what the Lord has done.  It is we who must ‘catch-up’.  He calls us by name, which staggers us and causes us to doubt.  Who are we, and why us?  We must deal with this ‘calling’ business– their must be some kind of mistake.

But Lord knows.  In spite of all that we know about ourselves, He entertains Himself of a more subterranean assessment of us.  He simply scoops us up, deeper and wider than we can spread out our pollution.  He picks us up beyond our ability to contaminate.  We are His, with all our foulness and evil attached.

We now have an identity.  We have become His possession.  Gummy, sticky decay and all.  We are transferred out of a poisonous and ugly situation to be transplanted into a wholesome and healing environment.  This is radical, and cannot be manipulated by our effort or control.

We find ourself to be transplanted into a good place.  And it is there where we receive our new name.  With that new name comes a new identity, and purpose.  We are no longer poisonous or toxic to others.  We cannot defile them with our concentrated evil.  Our new name begins to affect us and others.  He deals with us in a radically different manner.

He starts to lead us out by name.  This brings us a security and a contentment we have never known.  We belong to Him!  That realization is profound and staggering.  Who are we, that He should be so kind?  Our lives were embedded with evil, and darkness of every kind imaginable.  Now we are His?

He knows all that is His.  He has marked us and led us through the pollution.  We pass through the toxicity and the filth and He intends to bring us all the way out and all the way home.  We do nothing, but say ‘yes’!  It’s then we realize that we can do nothing to save ourselves.  He is quite solitary about salvation and He intends to receive eternal glory for your deliverance.

 

The Manna Test

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 

 Exodus 16:4, NIV

 

Just imagine, for a moment, that it is raining bread outside right now!  We got to see this!  We run outside and and are pelted with rye, and caraway and pumpernickel.  Bread!  Its everywhere, all you want, just pick it up.  It piles up like a yeasty hail, and it doesn’t seem to diminish, its everywhere!  We call the kids, ‘Bring buckets, and clean garbage bags’!

God has directly intervened in the life of Israel.  He becomes the exclusive producer of manna to the children of Israel.  He decides to give, and then He pelts them with His goodness– bread, delicious bread, fresh and warm, and they say it comes from heaven!  This is the ultimate!  BREAD!  This is far beyond anything I could imagine.

But if we clear away the piles, and draw near to those whom we assume know something, we will be struck by a sense of the reality of God.  The others grab on the basic idea; but we are shaken, to the core.  We come out, clinging to a God who loves us and intensely cares for us.  ‘He is real, and He loves us!”  And all others can see– are the piles and piles of bread.

 God has done something drastic, something right  ‘on the edge of reason’.  We encounter Him, (or He encounters us) and we get involved, whether we like it or not.  The decision will be a foundational and a concrete one.  It really is much, much more than bread from heaven. But will we connect the dots?

Even though we see the supernatural bread piling up, we need to be aware we are being ‘tested’.  So much of this test, really isn’t one at all.  It’s the sixth day that catches us.  Do we, who have become dependent on this supernatural supply, trust Him to provide on the Sabbath?  Maybe He will he just ‘blink-out’ and leave us hanging?  Maybe we should gather more, before He fails us?

We have to come to this clear and classic place.  I believe it is the real starting point.  Exactly how will you accept “free bread”?  Will I honor Him through it all?  (We are being ‘tested’ folks.  We are on the ‘clock’.)  The rub comes when we just don’t see it.  We turn, not so much as to reject what is obvious, but to take on that which is authentic.  If we will just do this, we will pass the test.