Sunday, December 04, 2005

Can These Bones Live?

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."'"
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'" So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Ezekiel 37:4-10

This passage of Scripture has got to be one of the most preached passages ever. It’s easy to see why. What a vivid prophecy. If this stands out so much to us in the 21st century, imagine what it must have been like for Ezekiel as he had this vision. This is a prophecy of Scripture that has been fulfilled. It was fulfilled on May 14, 1948, when Israel once again became a sovereign nation. God was bringing His chosen people back to their homeland. While this prophecy has been sealed, I believe that there is truth that we as the Body of Christ can glean from it.

1. Verse 7 tells of the miraculous rejoining of the scattered bones. What I take from this is that God does not desire for us to be or remain in a scattered state. Sin causes us to drift away from God, and we spend less time in prayer, less time in the Word, and generally neglect our relationship with Him. Hebrews 2:1 exhorts us to pay all the more attention and heed to what we’ve learned, so that we don’t drift away. Yet when we allow cares and worries take hold on us, that is exactly what can happen. From personal experience, I know the havoc that it causes. I understand the disconnectedness from God, a feeling of being lost, despair, etc. And in turn, when part of the Body is not functioning properly, it means the Body as a whole can't function as it should.

2. The next step was the flesh and sinews coming on the skeletons. It's important for structure in the Body, but there must be substance as well. How does one build up substance in his or her life? We do so by a steady diet of the Word of God. Whether it takes the form of milk for the baby Christian, or solid meat for a mature Christian, the Word helps to strengthen us. But in the prophecy at that point, these were just corpses without the breath of life. The Bible says that knowledge puffs up, or inflates us like a balloon. It also says that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. I believe that there is a danger in simply knowing and learning what the Word says, without allowing the Spirit to make the word alive in us. The picture I have in mind is of the Pharisees, with simply an empty knowledge of the Word, but no Spirit to direct the knowledge they had. They were boastful in that they knew Scripture, and all they got was an inflated ego. In one confrontation with them, Jesus said, “Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. Yet these are the scriptures that speak of me” (John 5:39). They knew the Word, yet when the “Word made flesh” stood in front of their faces, they didn’t recognize him. They didn’t even realize that they were the “living dead”, without the Spirit of God to make real the Word inside them. That brings us to the final point: the need for the Holy Spirit in our lives.

3. The Spirit gave these lifeless bodies life, and they became a mighty army (vv 9-10). We too are an army. An army has to function as one, with one purpose in mind. So the Body of Christ is to operate in one mind and accord. Our anointing (1 Jo 2:20) functions best in the Body. We need each other to minister effectively. Sure, we notice when God has gifted and equipped a person, but it's not for himself, because he is to function as another part of the Body. That is why unity is so important. Without unity, we can't function as we should. Unity of the Body is what makes our anointing most effective. That’s why it’s so critical to walk in harmony and peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul said in Ephesians 4:3 that we must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, because there is one body, and one Spirit, as we are called in one hope of our calling. There is only one Lord, one faith. So let us keep in unity with our brothers and sisters, and there we will see God do mighty things.

I pray that this study has blessed someone out there today. Until next time, God bless.

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