Friday, July 17, 2015

Reading 24: Valley of Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Israel seems to be in a hopeless condition. The entire nation has been exiled from their land and are living in captivity in Babylon. Only a small group of them remain faithful to God. Israel's whole identity as a nation was through God and with only a small group still following Israel was on the brink of becoming assimilated into Babylon. Israel was dying.

But with God there is always hope. Ezekiel began prophesying in Babylon before the fall of Jerusalem. This vision comes a year or two after Babylon has conquered Jerusalem and burned down the Temple. Israel is fading fast but God shows Ezekiel that it is not over. He takes them to a valley that shows how Israel views themselves, as a valley of death.

God first asks Ezekiel if he believes these bones can come to life. Ezekiel acknowledges that he cannot tell for sure because God could do anything. God tells Ezekiel to tell the bones what He says and Ezekiel does so. God first asks Ezekiel, "do you believe I can do this?" Ezekiel says he does and so God says, "Okay the do this." God doesn't want Ezekiel to just say that he believes God can do this but to also show that he believe God can do this. God doesn't just want us to say that we believe in Him but to also show that we believe in Him by living our lives according to His commands.

 Ezekiel speaks the words of God and the bones start to come alive. This vision prophesies and reflects a few things. First, the restoration of Israel. Israel will become alive again and live once more in the promised land. This would happen 47 years later. This also shows the life giving power of the word of God. In Genesis we see God create the universe with just the words of His mouth. His breath fills the lungs of Adam giving Him life just as His breath gives the skeletons life. Later we see the Word of God become flesh in Jesus who makes everyone alive in Him with the gift of eternal life. God's Word is powerful and life giving!

God's Word has life giving power. By constantly listening and reading His Word we are being filled with abundant life. By sharing God's Word with others we are extending that life to those around us, our family and friends. We see in Ezekiel the power God's Word has in the Spiritual realm. We have the ability to unleash that power.

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