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Hope for Dry Bones

I've noticed that I seem to trust that God can change situations, but I do not often believe that He will.

A couple of weeks ago, my pastor led us through Ezekiel 37:1-14. The passage relates a vision the Lord shows Ezekiel about the restoration of the nation of Israel. But, my pastor said, it is also a picture of the hope we have in Christ.

Now, we all know that our hope is sealed in the Lord — we can rest in the assurance of His grace and the salvation He has provided for us. But what about those day-to-day situations (lost jobs, breakups, challenges with your spouse) that seem utterly hopeless and unfixable? Thankfully, through this passage, God provides some hope for us in those situations as well.

In the beginning of the chapter, the Lord brings Ezekiel to a valley full of bones. The bones are beyond dead — they are very dry, all marrow has evaporated, the situation is bleak.

“Son of man, can these bones live?” the Lord asks Ezekiel. As my pastor pointed out, the first thing God looks for in our “dry bones” situations is that we have faith. Do you believe I can restore this situation? God asks of us.

Ezekiel replies, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” The second thing God looks for is total dependence on Him. We know that we cannot bring the deadness of our circumstances back to life, and so we need to depend solely on the Lord.

The Lord tells Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!” Next, said my pastor, we must apply God’s Word to our situation. We must seek out the truth presented in Scripture and pray it over whatever we’re going through. As Ezekiel spoke the word of the Lord over the dry bones, he saw tendons and flesh appear on the skeletons. Their bodies were restored, through God’s word. But, they still were not breathing.

Next, the Lord says to Ezekiel “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” The word “breath” that is used in this passage means “wind” or “spirit.” The last lesson is that we must ask God’s Holy Spirit to come breathe the life-giving power of God into our situations.

For some reason, this message really hit me. I often give up on difficult situations in my life; I fail to believe that anything can be done to fix them. I’ve noticed that I seem to trust that God can change situations, but I do not often believe that He will.

I loved this passage and my pastor’s explanation of it because it reminded me that God does bring hope to our situations — He does restore life. And beautifully, the passage ends with this: “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.”

God acts because He loves us and desires for us to be whole, but He also acts to glorify Himself. When he restores our situation it’s so that we will know who He is, what He has done, and what His character consists of.

Now, this passage was written specifically about the nation of Israel, but I know that God works to bring life to our “dry bones” as well. After listening to this message I was reminded to bring the truth of Scripture into my difficult situations and to ask God’s Spirit to be at work. I was reminded of my hope — for the future and for right now — because my God is one of life-giving truth.

May your hope spring forth today as we seek to obey Him and trust Him to continue the good work He has begun in us and His power to bring life to our dry bones!

Copyright 2007 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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