Summary: A sermon giving hope using Ezekiel 37 the valley of dry bones. I am particuarily interested in your response to this sermon
Ezekiel 37 (NIV)
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
Ezekiel was a prophet and a young one at that. He was full of the word of God at a very difficult time in his nations history. His nation was in exile and it was as if they were dead and buried. Gone for all money. Exekiel and his contemporary Jeremiah had warned the nation – they had refused to listen and here they were in exile – a nation shattered and scattered beyond it seems redemption – In our current era we have watched the brutalisation of Aleppo in Syria it’s largest city ‘Everything is a nightmare’
Before the conflict started to unfurl in July 2011, Syria had been a popular tourist destination, with ancient Aleppo as its jewel.
Now it is a brutalised ruin – not totally destroyed but a mess.
Imagine if you can Israel in the times of Ezekial – due to it’s rebellion against God it was devastated and wrecked – the People were taken into captivity it was reduced to be seen as a valley of dry bones.
When devastation is complete there can seem to be no hope and history is scattered with dead and buried civilisations. Israel was now in that situation dead and buried.
In the midst of it’s devastation the Prophet is taken to a valley of dry bones and asked can these bones live?
As Christians we face uncertain times.
We look at what once was in Christianity and are amazed at how God has moved in the past. Many have forsaken God or watered down his word to the extent that we have felt only the bones have remained.
In such a situation we can ask can these bones live?
CPR will not work on a skeleton and watered down religion is not revival.
Yet Globally Christianity is in the greatest shape it has ever been and where early missionaries hacked through jungles in remote regions and planted seeds of faith in remote areas often dying in droves to do so – the Gospel is flourishing – the Christian population in Africa exceeded that of the United States in the 1970’s and China’s Christian population is now subject to wild estimates but it is agreed that it is growing rapidly expected to reach 300 million by mid century.
Can these bones live – the answer is a resounding yes.