Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bone Dry and Hopeless by Tammy Blackburn

Week 34--August 22-28
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 23-42; Psalm 117-120
Key passage for devotion: Ezekiel 37:1-14

The nation of Israel was scattered and broken among their enemies. A great many were hostages and slaves in Babylon. Some had given over to the customs and religious practices of their captors. Most had given up hope that they would ever see their homeland again. They were poor and destitute. God had promised through the words of the prophets that they would be delivered and restored to the Promised Land. However, circumstances being what they were, it seemed impossible for such an event to occur. The Israelites had given up all hope and felt cut off. They cried that their bones were “dried up.”

Ezekiel, a priest and prophet of that time, was among the exiles in Babylon. Ezekiel chapter 37 tells us that the Lord took Ezekiel into a valley and there gave him a vision of what was to come. The valley was full of bones; bones of dead men as if they had fought a great battle. The bones were scattered and very dry. The Lord asked Ezekiel if he thought these bones could live again. I am convinced Ezekiel had doubts about it, but he knew God’s sovereign power and deferred to that. Ezekiel responded, “O, Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Apparently pleased with Ezekiel’s answer, God commanded him to prophesy to the bones. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would have probably looked around to see if anyone was watching me before I started talking to a bunch of scattered skeletons.

We may never know exactly what went through Ezekiel’s mind at that point, but we do know that he was obedient to the words of God. He told those bones to get up and hear what God was saying. He told them they would be brought together and covered with flesh once again. As he prophesied, he heard the rattling of bones as they began to get up! He watched as each bone found its respective body. Tendons grew and joined them together and flesh covered them, but they were not yet alive. God told Ezekiel to prophesy again and command that breath enter the bodies. As he did, the breath of the Lord came from the four winds and filled each body with the breath of life.

God told Ezekiel this was representative of what He planned for the house of Israel. He said he would raise them up and bring them once again to the land they were promised. He would breathe new life into them and place His Spirit inside of them. They would be free and would know that He was the Lord. Israel was delivered back to Israel as God promised, but this prophecy speaks of so much more. He planned to send His Son to purchase our freedom on the cross at Calvary. By believing in Him we can have newness of life. His Spirit comes to dwell inside of us. He becomes our very breath and strength.

Many times we are faced with difficult circumstances. Sometimes we even feel hopeless and like our bones are dried up. We cannot see any possible way of deliverance from the situation. Remember that when God took Ezekiel into the valley of dry bones it most likely seemed impossible that they could live again. However, Ezekiel was obedient to what God asked him to do. He didn’t deny his own doubts, but yielded to God’s limitless power.

Whatever circumstance you might be facing I challenge you to get a vision of dry bones coming to life. Get a vision of what God can do in your own situation and life. Then yield to His strength, His power, and be obedient to His words. You might see some bones get up and dance around!

See Tammy's bio and other blog articles by putting Tammy Blackburn in the search box in the upper left of the blog.

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