Summary: “Then he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” (Ezek. 37:4)
Today is the second Sunday during this period of Lent that we are worshipping at home. Let us glorify God through our worship and pray that His mercy will cause every dry bone to live. The world today finds itself in a state of spiritual dryness even though our Lord Jesus Christ has already dealt with the problem. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him may not die but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) The only way to deal with spiritual dryness is to return to God and believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin to give us life and reconcile us to God.
Our belief in Christ restores the manifest presence of God in our lives. It is true that God is everywhere but man can be separated from His manifest presence. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they lost the glory of God and being afraid because of their nakedness hid from God. The loss of the manifest presence of God gave Satan the opportunity he was looking for to afflict them. His only interest was to steal, kill and destroy them. Satan uses sickness and disease to kill and destroy. The main news today is about the suffering and death of many people from the coronavirus disease that is also destroying many families. The covid-19 infection is affecting the whole world and has been declared by the World Health Organisation as a pandemic. Satan is able to afflict man in this way because of our spiritual dryness and the absence of God’s manifest presence.
The state of the world today can also be described by the same vision given to Ezekiel, the prophet. The prophet was taken into a valley where he saw the scattered bones of many dead people. God told him that they belonged to His people, the nation of Israel. The bones were very dry and Ezekiel accepted that only God could know whether they could live again. In this picture, we see the dry bones of all humanity and that in the same way God gave life to the nation of Israel to fulfil His will so God will give life to His people to fulfil His will.
When man is evil, his evil deeds makes him hide from God’s presence. Satan then takes advantage of the absence of God’s manifest presence to afflict and destroy man. Lucifer, Satan’s name before the Fall, was created to be the archangel with oversight over worship in heaven. He became proud and wanted to be worshipped so God cast him out on heaven and made man to worship Him. Furthermore, God crowned man with honour and glory and give him authority and dominion over His creation including Satan. God’s love for man angered Satan so much that he sought every opportunity to destroy him.
Satan’s hate for man is clearly chronicled in the history of Israel. Whenever he caused Israel to sin it was to keep them from the manifest presence of God so that he could afflict them. He tried to kill and destroy them by making their enemies defeat them and lead them into captivity. God’s people would cry out to Him and He would deliver them. He delivered them from captivity in Babylon and Assyria and brought them back to the Promised Land. Satan tried to kill and destroy the Jews by using Hitler during the second world war. Six million Jews were murdered in the gas chambers of the concentration camps and when they cried out to God, He delivered them and brought them back to The Promised land. When the survivors of the concentration camps were freed, all of them were starving and only their bones were visible. God turned the evil of Satan and Israel became a nation on May 15, 1948, so that God’s divine plan for Israel and the world could be fulfilled.
The manifest presence of God is the source of our strength and source of our protection. Today the world cannot experience the manifest presence of God because we have rejected Christ and no longer believe in His shed blood for the forgiveness of sin. Instead of worshipping God, we have made and worship of many false idols. We no longer see anything wrong with the shedding of innocent blood and our greed and love for money has led to the deprivation, starvation and loss of many lives. The weak, the poor and the needy are exploited. The vulnerable are led into drugs, alcohol and sex to satisfy extravagant lifestyles. The poor are deceived and robbed and die of malnutrition and starvation. The rich steal from the poor and exploit them. Indeed, every evil that can be imagined, abounds over the whole world. All these has led to the absence of the manifest presence of God. In the absence of the manifest presence of God, Satan has taken the opportunity to steal, kill and destroy man. Today it is through the coronavirus. What the world is experiencing today is to make us turn away from our wicked ways, seek the face of God and ask for forgiveness. When God told Ezekiel, the prophet, to prophesy over the dry bones they heard the Word of God and came to life. The nations need to hear the Word of God and believe that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.