“I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then, you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord. Ezekiel 37:14

 

It had been a harsh winter. New beginnings with my music ministry degree program felt more like sputtered false starts than the tremendous take-offs I’d been hoping for. Between oodles of inclement weather and bout after bout of illness with the kiddos, it’s safe to say I was limping around the lane rather than racing down the roadway. Doubt began to creep in. Had I “heard” God correctly? Was this really what He wanted? Was  there actually any purpose in the music He placed within me?  I knew in my heart of hearts that the answers to these questions remained the same as before. Yes, yes, and yes. But, all those yeses did nothing to water my “dry bones.”

Sitting down to read my bible, I came across the 37th chapter of Ezekiel. I had forgotten about this passage written by the old testament priest and prophet. It tells of an incredible vision the Lord gave him… 

The scene opens with Ezekiel in the middle of a deserted valley, full of skeletal remains. There was nothing but dry, brittle bones all around him. The scripture says there were many bones, very many. It goes on to mention, again, that they were extremely dry. No life left in them. To the human eye, they may as well have been kindling for the fire.  God had other plans. He told Ezekiel to prophesy to those dried up remains.

First, God had Ezekiel give the command to, “…hear the word of the Lord.” Second, God tells them He is going to fill them with breath. That they will live again. He will place sinews/tendons on them. Put flesh on them. Cover them with skin. Breath will fill them up and they will live. They will know He is God. Ezekiel prophesied just as the Lord commanded. Suddenly, there came a loud rattling as those bones began to move. Every single bone came together. Bone to bone. One by one. Everything God declared came true. Not only did they breathe again, stand on their feet once more, come alive…we learn that they were an exceedingly great army. As Ezekiel watched all this in amazement, the Lord spoke to Him. He explained that this vision, these bones, were like the nation of Israel during that painful time.  Parched, hopeless, lost. Yet, He went on to say, He would open up the graves of the Israelites. Give them life anew. Bring them into a new land. A land of their own. One He had created just for them. He assured them that everyone would know that He, God, had prepared it, proclaimed it, and performed it.

Notice how He begins. “Hear the word…” Listen to me. If you want to know what to do, seek Me out, ask me, and then…LISTEN. So often we want God’s help but, prefer to get it without really listening purposefully. When you are listening with purpose, you are hearing with the intention of responding. It is not passive. It is active. What if you were driving around in the dark… almost out of gasoline, tired, confused, and utterly lost! You realize there’s one of those GPS navigation systems in the car. What a blessed relief! Just when it started giving you turn by turn directions (one step at a time), would you turn the radio up, roll the window down, and start singing or talking out loud? It’s giving you perfect directions and there you are, making all this racket, right over the top of it. It seems a silly example but truly, we tend to do that with God a lot. 

After asking them to listen, God lays out His promise. New life for them. It’s exciting and wonderful. As soon as He speaks it, He lets them know it is a step-by-step process. Bones coming together. Tendons attaching. Muscle growing. Flesh covering. Breath filling the lungs. New life. Knowledge of Him. It is a progression. The same is true for us. When God plans a new something or new someone for our lives, there are stages. Even when we aren’t aware of them. It can take weeks, months, or even years.  But, always He is there.

I love how He doesn’t just get them upright again, He makes them this awesome army. This force. I wanna be like that. I want to be full of God’s love for others. An encourager. A  helper. I want to change hearts… one sincere smile, one tender, truthful word at a time. Isn’t it wonderful to know God gets excited about that, too? He wants more for us than simply standing on our feet again. We are to mobilize. There’s lots to do. 🙂

This passage is a beautiful reminder of God’s grace and faithfulness. No matter how desolate, dried up, or daunting a situation may seem… He is able to renew, restore, recreate. When we look at the dried up places in our lives, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, desperate, or hopeless. But, God promises, if we ask Him to, He will fill us with His Holy Spirit, place us in a “new land,” and breathe life into our “dead brittle bones.”

 

 

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