As I spend quiet time with the Lord, I often hear a thought bubble up in my mind. As I pray and ponder it, it grows and sometimes becomes something to release. That’s the case with this post.
In this first part regarding “dry bones,” found in Ezekiel 37: 1-14, the Lord carries Ezekiel away in a vision to see a valley of dry of bones. The Lord then instructs Ezekiel what to and then to prophesy over the bones. The bones come alive again as God breathes life back into the Israelites’ restored bodies. Doesn't that sound worth reading! I’ve copied that at the bottom. Check it out and come back.
Historically, we are met in a place of woe for the Israelites. At this point, the Israelites had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians with no end in sight. Through this event, God breathes hope back into their world with a promise that this people would be restored.
Eventually, Babylon was conquered by the Persians. Under the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, the Jews were permitted in 538 BC to return and rebuild Jerusalem only for this to be torn down by the Romans later. Jewish persecution continues. The Holocaust marks a more recent event with continued hate crimes today. The enemy, known as satan, hates Israel and continues to twist and manipulate world events against God’s chosen people. Yet, we can be assured that God and His people will prevail. The Lord also beckons us in Psalm 122:6 to pray for His people: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”
Now, we could leave it right there and consider it a beautiful story of hope. Yet, it’s time to go further to how this might fit our lives. Thanks to an excellent professor of mine, Dr. Rodney Allen, I learned how to be challenged to go beyond text to make meaning of it for my life and my students’ lives. To do this with Bible text is awesome and follows the promise of being "alive and active" and, "It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together......" (Hebrews 4:12)
So, here we go…………
* What parts of your life have dried up or are shriveling as dry bones?
* Where have you found yourself in your own mess and not relying on God and His Word with His hope?
* Are you feeling despair, fear, anger, guilt, and/or shame?
These are not God’s intentions for your life but the lie of the enemy. Whatever it is, know we all have challenges and make messes. One of my many messes is below in testimony at the bottom.
God created us to “live” as noted in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
When we look around in just our will and mind and wallow in our own emotions, we are not living in the light of what God has for us. Our minds and souls are part of our carnal existence and limited by our own resolve which is not even a flicker of what it can be with God as we seek His thoughts, will, and intentions.
To those in despair, depressed, broken, lift up your eyes and surrender your heart to God, and He will help you to “live again”.
We all have a sense about the turn of events going horribly. When you notice that, turn it around with:
* SURRENDER! The battle is too heavy for you to carry alone. Lift your voice up to God in prayer to seek His help, His counsel.
* Dust off your Bible and read it with a fever. Get hungry and ask God to reveal His Word to your heart. Ask for God to make you hungry for His word!
You must also turn around any negative thoughts, actions, or words in your life. They are death to your bones!
Don’t believe me?
Proverbs 17:22 - A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
* Declare Jeremiah 29:11 or any other life-giving scripture into your life
* The world is quite noisy. How can you hear God in the noise? Find time to quiet yourself and then, as you look for the Lord, listen for what He says back. He will lead and guide you through your valley of dry bones. Through Jesus Christ, any dry bones of our lives – our mistakes, our pain, our sorrow, can be revived to a place of faith, hope, and love. We can grow and have joy in the peace that only the Lord can give.
May the Lord bless and keep you and heal you. Give it to Him and allow Him to knit your dry bones to life. In the mighty and victorious name of Jesus Christ. Amen
My Dry Bones: The year 2005 marks a year my "bones" were nearly dry. I had done life my way for so long and found myself in the 24th year of a toxic marriage that I did not know how to fix. Physical illness and depression heaped upon me. The anti-depressants did not fix but numbed the pain. In an 18-month time period, I had a blood clot which embolized through my heart and lungs followed by two other major surgeries. In my despair, I actually said the words out loud, “I’m dying.” That same night of my declaration, I prayed with my whole and broken heart asking God to help me. You know, that REALLY gut-wrenching kind.
That night, I had the most beautiful dream where I felt peace of the Lord. This was the beginning of a new walk into light, still full of mistakes, but with a new faith. It was not easy to uncover the years of pain and cloudy thinking and to grow in relationship with Jesus. It took exposing my pride, guilt, shame, and cleaning up my stinking thinking from being in a swarm of legalistic religious ideas. Walking out was tough – forgiveness was tougher.
I spent several years in self-righteous living trying to prove I was right. The Lord was merciful to me and continued to work in my heart. With each step, He put out another challenge for me to walk and grow in my faith in Him. Pivotal changes occurred as I began to forgive and surrender my life to Jesus Christ. Ongoing, the enemy wanted to throw lots of roadblocks out there with his lies and attacks. I do not expect anything less for we know he seeks to "steal, kill, and destroy." (john 10:10) He hates it when we are recovering for he has to work harder to pull us down again.
In an almost incomprehensible manner, I grow to experience more joy and peace as I walk with Jesus Christ and put my trust in Him. I know He is my Redeemer and will finish the work in me, in us all, that He started. (Philippians 1:6) I believe He will pick up anyone in their dry bones and breathe His life back into you according to His will and purpose for our lives. It may not, and probably won't, look like we think, or be all that we want, but God is there and will extend his love and peace - and understanding. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (New King James Version)
1 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed, they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So, I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”