Ezekiel’s army of the living dead!

Ezekiel 37

This is a well known passage from the Bible where a seemingly hopeless situation has an extraordinarily hopeful outcome.

Engraving of “The vision of the valley of dry bones” by Gustave Dore

Ezekiel 37:1-6

The Valley of Dry Bones

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

Ezekiel was presented with a very disturbing sight. A valley full of dryness. An army which at one time was possibly dreadful, mighty to behold, now just rotten, decaying skeletons!

Challenge

In light of the valley of death before him, God asks the question?

Ezekiel 37:3

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

My answer, as I’m sure yours would be, is a resounding “No Way!” This is impossible and besides theses guys have had their time. This beyond my capabilities.

Thankfully, Ezekiel was a little wiser and more accepting that His God could and can do anything. His answer :

Ezekiel 37:3

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

Ezekiel understood that only through Gods Words can anything be established. These bones may be beyond help But God!!!

But God..

The key is in the “Sovereign Lord” at the start of Ezekiel’s reply. So often I restrict God by looking at the surface of things. Forgetting that He is God!

Looking at the situation through human eyes : There is too much dryness here, too much death/ lifelessness. Yet, God is a life giving God. From the very beginning, in the book of Genesis God is seen as creating life from the very words he speaks

Read Genesis

I allow areas of my life to become dry, parched and even dead. When it comes to letting the life of God flow through me. After all the Holy Spirit who was given to Pentecost is likened to living, effervescent water.

In this recent dry spell it is easy to see how the ground reacts when water is at a premium. Apart from the government sanctioned “hosepipe” bans. We see cracks, dry riverbeds and confused wildlife as they go to their local watering hole to find ……… Dryness.

Dryness kills

The truth is if I allow myself to be cut off from the source of life : Jesus. Then how can I expect to flourish?

There’s a difference between being dead – with nothing to offer and being the “living dead” carrying the life of Christ within us. Knowing who we live for and all we have is from Him!

Rather than a soldier who is alive against the odds. When I exclude Christ, his words and the Holy Spirit. I become more of a terracotta warrior! Looks good but no life!!

Brief history : Terracotta warriors

Regarded as one of the greatest friends on the 20th century. These terracotta warriors were said to have been China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang’s personal army constructed at around 246 BC, taking around 40 years to complete. These warriors and horses were meant to be an army to protect the emperor in the afterlife. This army is as vast, as it is detailed, with more than

  1. 8,000 soldiers
  2. 130 chariots
  3. 670 horses
  • Each with gestures and individuality which draws many to visit and awe in the workmanship that has gone into them.
  • This being said, they may look mighty but are nothing but empty pots!!
  • Living dead

  • Back to the account in Ezekiel. The valley of dry bones was a hopeless, dry situation. But God,
  • Ezekiel understands his limitations and yet God, encourages and involves him in the restoration process.

“Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

What’s the point

  1. When I feel dry, go to the source
  2. Nothing is impossible for God, he even wants to involve me/ you in the process
  3. Don’t just look like a warrior (terracotta) – let the breathe of God, through His Words and Holy Spirit Breathe Life through your dryness
  • Becoming a “living-dead Warrior”, yes dying to my will and living for Christ.
  • living against the odds – that’s living life to the full!!
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