Summary: Sometimes our valleys can represent the absent of life, hope and justice. This message gives the Christian and the church an assurance that God will be with us and the Spirit of God will lead us. This message was shared with a patriotic musical.
July 03, 2016
When All You See Is Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Intro.: The message was to be a bright message of hope, a new beginning for a new nation. Yet as the people began to look around and look to the future, there really seemed to be no hope and no future. The disdain for morality and life’s values was present, and respect for life and property was absent. The promise, the dream seemed impossible in light of the present conditions. The new nation had been divided and dispersed for so long that unification and restoration would never return. What seemed to be the right path for greatness and prosperity was now a nation that was dead.
Now, what I have just described to you is the nation of Israel during the period of the Babylonian captivity from 605 B.C. to 597. B.C. Wicked King Nebuchadnezzar had overcome the city of Jerusalem several times and each time had removed any possibility of the nation returning and reuniting.
However, in the background of this calamity and captivity God was raising up a visionary leader named Ezekiel. From the book that bears his name, Ezekiel, called and anointed by God in 593 B.C. as a priest and prophet to the nation of Israel – extraordinarily witnessed the heavens being opened and saw visions of God. Those visions are dispersed throughout the whole book and one that needs our attention today is Ezekiel 37:1-14.
In this vision God sat Ezekiel down in a valley and listen again to the way he described what he saw. He said first of all the valley was full of bones. As the Lord led him around the valley further he described the bones covering the surface of the ground, and then, he described them as being very dry.
I wonder this morning that what Ezekiel saw in 593 B.C. is what many Americans are seeing in 2016 A.D? From our neighborhoods to every state in our union. From the borders of our own nation across the oceans to other continents. All we see are dry valleys. Valleys that represent an absence of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and justice for all?
Less we go another day, another hour let’s not miss the opening verse of this chapter. For in it are eight words of hope, eight words of purpose, eight words of assurance. Eight words that can keep the American believer and God’s church singing.
We must not be silent, we must not be afraid. Our voices must remain strong just like Ezekiel’s did during his days. This morning I want to answer the question -- What do we do when we sit down in the valley and all we see is dry bones? Verse one gives us a clear answer for that question.
1. Know The Good Hand of the Lord Is Still on Us v. 1a
A. The history of Israel and our own nation reminds us of this truth.
1. The Israelites by faith left Egypt believing the good hand of the Lord was on them.
2. The hand of the Lord was on Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and the prophets.
3. America was founded by bible-believing Christians believing the good hand of the Lord was on them.
4. Our God is a faithful, faithful God!
5. When God stretched forth His hand and created this world – when He created us – His hand has always remained outstretched to His people.
6. Even though we know this to be true – there is a caution.
B. Caution! -- We never assume on this --
1. Consider Israel again.
2. They assumed they didn’t need God at times.
3. They assumed they could do things on their own.
4. They assumed that they could fight enemies on their own.
5. They assumed that they could make their own decisions.
C. Caution! -- We do not take this for granted
1. When we reach a point where we only call out to God for emergencies we take Him for granted.
2. When it’s convenient for us to pray or attend worship we take God for granted.
3. When we trample on His grace because of rebellion and disobedience we take God for granted.
4. Church/believer – Know that the good hand of the Lord is STILL on us.
2. Know that God’s Spirit is Alive and Leading v.1b
A. Ezekiel was trusting the hand of the Lord and he was trusting the Word of the Lord.
1. For 36 chapters the words from Ezekiel are “the word of the Lord came to me.”
2. In these 14 verses there are at least 9 references to prophesy and Ezekiel speaking the word of the Lord.
3. There is overwhelming evidence for Ezekiel to know that God’s Spirit was leading him.