Summary: Sometimes we feel like our bones are dried up and our hope is gone like the Jews in Ezekie’s vision but God has come in Jesus Christ to restore our hope and bring us back to life one day.

-I’m sure you’ve all heard this song before.

-Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Gonna hear the word of the Lord.

Your toe bone connected to your foot bone

Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone

Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone

-Do you know what the song is about?

-It’s really about our Old Testament lesson for today {PAUSE}

-Ezekiel was a prophet during the sixth century B. C.

-Israel, the northern ten tribes, had already been conquered over a hundred years earlier by the Assyrians

-This of course made the southern two tribes, Judah, vulnerable to attack

-And that is exactly what happened

-Jehoiachin took the throne when he was only eighteen years old, after the death of his father, and reigned only three months and ten days before King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, swept in and carried the best and the brightest off to Babylon

-That is where we get all the amazing stories about Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

-After Jehoiachin is deposed by the Babylonians, his uncle, Zedekiah, is placed in power

-Ezekiel, a priest, stays behind in Jerusalem and is later carted off along with just about everyone when Zedekiah decides to rebel against the Babylonians

-When Jerusalem finally falls, the Babylonians destroy the city and the temple, they round up Zedekiah’s sons, kill them in front of him and gouge out his eyes and cart him off to Babylon along with everyone else {PAUSE}

-Obviously, you can imagine just what the people of Judah were thinking as they were carted off

-Think if that were to happen to our country

-You would wonder what went wrong

-You would question where God was

-Why did this happen?

-What’s going to happen now?

-What are we supposed to do?

-What are we supposed to learn from all this?

-What do we do now?

-Is there any hope? {PAUSE}

-You’ve probably all been there at one time or another in your lives

-You’ve felt like you were at the end of your rope

-That is how Linda and I began our marriage in a way

-In the year before and the year after we were married we really went through the ringer

-I kind of alluded to this late last year after our house on base flooded

-Maybe you have heard of the Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Scale

-I call it stress points

-It attaches a value to the amount of stress that a person goes through and encourages a person going through a lot of changes to not make unnecessary changes and to seek professional help if they are not coping well

-Right before we met, I had gotten out of the Army and moved back to my home town

-I had been told that a job with my old employer would be waiting for me when I got there but it wasn’t

-I was searching frantically for a job but was doing some volunteer work at our church and school

-My brother-in-law threw out his arm and had to undergo elbow surgery that ended up ending his baseball career so I had to fly down to Cincinnati to help my sister move down to Florida

-I came back to Wisconsin and had a couple of job offers

-I ended up starting a new job at my old employer but the atmosphere there had changed considerably

-Linda and I met and started dating

-I lost my father not long after

-I had to help my mom through that process and taking care of her property

-My pastor encouraged me to look into the ministry so we applied

-I proposed

-We did all of our wedding preparations

-We both quit our jobs and Linda looked for a new job in St. Louis

-We looked for a new place to live in St. Louis

-Linda lost her oldest sister a few months before our wedding

-We got married

-We lived in a brand new city, away for our families, living on one income while I was a student learning two brand new languages

-I totaled up our figures for those two years and our figures were in the several hundred

-According to the scale, we should have been dead or had serious health problems

-There were some not really so much fun times in those two years

-There were times that we probably felt that we would be better off dead

-I’m sure some of y’all can relate, having been in the military and moving around

-There is a lot of stress associated with that {PAUSE}

-That is kind of what the Israelites were going through during Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry.

-Listen to what God says what they say about themselves, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.”

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