Summary: This sermon is from the story of the valley of dry bones and how that God is wanting to speak to that in your life which you have counted as dead or lost.
HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS
Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is the result of blindness. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of God, unconcern for the needs of our fellow man, and unbelief in the promises of His Word.
In life there are situations, which appear to be totally and absolutely hopeless. Just no way out or through them and nothing but defeat all around us. Being discouraged is one of the greatest tools of the enemy. To have you discouraged and defeated is what he is after. To feel like there is no solution to life and that things will just not get better. Let’s look at a passage in the Bible that shows an impossible moment.
Ezekiel 37:1-2 1 The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. "
This is an image of the nation of Israel as they were in captivity. The nation was virtually dead, no hope, no future. It was lifeless, scattered, and bleached just as this conquered army’s corpses, which were scattered all across a battleground. There was no way humanly possible that they would ever arise from this defeat. It would be impossible!
No doubt many of you at one time or another felt this same way. Desperate, defeated and no possible hope for a future. It just seems as though there is no way that things will get better. That your situation cannot change without a miracle and to be honest you just do not have the faith for a miracle right now.
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, "Eighteen to nothing--we’re behind." "Boy," said the spectator, "I’ll bet you’re discouraged." "Why should I be discouraged?" replied the little boy. "We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!"
Now this boy had a different perspective… he still had hope. It might be an unlikely scenario for them to come back from but he was still in the game. Perhaps some of you today need to be reminded that you are still in the game. God has not had the final word yet. You might have lost your focus…
There is no greater state of hopelessness than of man without Christ. Jean-Paul Sarte wrote: "Man can count on no one but himself; he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth." Those apart from God have a feeling of meaningless and abandonment that they cannot explain. (H. Lindsell)
Ephesians 2:12 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.
Paul understood how the gentiles felt before they found Jesus. Can you imagine those that heard about the living God of Israel… heard of the miracles…. That this was the God of Israel and not their God. They did not have the hope that the children of Israel had, nor did they have the hope of having the hope. As Paul said they were excluded and they were not part of the covenant promises. Until being saved they were hopeless.
God alone holds the answer to hopeless situations.
Ezekiel 37:3 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign LORD,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Now the answer is quite obvious in the natural… from our own view of this valley of bones the answer is no. It is absurd to suppose that these dead bones could ever live again. All hope was gone in the eyes of any man looking across that scene, but it was God who asked the question, and it is God alone who knows the answer.
The same can be said about your life, your situation. Can your life change… can new hope come to that which has been counted lost or dead? This was an impossible situation just as what you are facing may be impossible in your eyes.
Matthew 19:25-26 25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”