Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prophesy to the Bones

Clean up your room. Pick up your toys. Lift the seat. Put the seat down. Don't forget . . . . The list could go on and on. We all do it. We may not mean to do it, but we do it anyway. We wake up thinking the day is going to be a new beginning. We quote the verse over and over: "For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry (lodge) for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalm 30:5). We even experience victory for a while. Then, about five minutes into the day, we start reminding the kids to do or not do all of the things that we told them the day before - and the day before that - to infinity and beyond. We could begin to believe that they don't hear a word we are saying. We could begin to think like Ezekiel, that we are talking to a bunch of dead bones.

The scene from Ezekiel 37 must have been an interesting sight. God took Ezekiel to a battlefield in a valley. All Ezekiel saw was pile after pile of old, dry bones. God told him to prophesy to the bones. He told him that he would put the bones together and then bring life to them. I remember getting ready for church on Sunday morning and listening to the sounds of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Biscuits and ham fried in an iron skillet wafted down the hallway to the first bedroom on the left. That one belonged to me. I would come out from underneath my Star Wars protective covering and trudge to the breakfast table. All the while Tennessee Ernie Ford was singing from the record player/stereo, "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, now hear the word of the Lord. The toe bone connected to the heel bone. The heel bone connected to the foot bone." Okay, sorry. I got off track a little bit. Wait a minute. Is that Lacrae and Chris Tomlin singing Tennessee Ernie Ford? "As I was prophesying there was a noise, a rattling sound And the bones came together bone to bone . . . ." Nope, sorry. It wasn't them. Actually, it was them, but they weren't rapping to Ernie. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah - Ezekiel.

Ezekiel must have felt like we all feel from time to time when we feel like we are talking to dead bones. Maybe you are a teacher, a preacher, an employer, a parent, a deputy, or any other roles where you find yourself talking to the perpetual hand. The one thought about Ezekiel's experience is that he was getting his instruction straight from God. Sometimes we give instructions based on our own whims, our history, our traditions, or our downright selfishness. God was giving instructions based on the fact that he was about to do something brand new in the people of Israel.

God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. He did so, and the bones came together. They were covered with skin, but they still were not alive. Then God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath. He did so, and the bones came to life as a mighty army. That's what I call results!!

Do you know how many times I have wondered if God will bring new life? New life in family situations, church struggles, community deadness, state trouble, national depression, and world lostness. When and how are two of the questions, but the biggest question may be "Will He bring the dead to life?" We are celebrating Easter this weekend, and we know from experience that God resurrected Jesus from the dead. As such, we have the privilege of following Him as disciples if we will lay down our lives and take up His cross. If God can bring the literal dead to life surely He can help in our families, churches, communities, state, country, and world. Right?? As surely as you just blinked your eyes, God can and will bring restoration where He chooses to do so. He will build an army where He finds people who will do life His way. I want to be part of the army of God!!

To usher the Easter weekend into our church community, we are reading the Word of God aloud in our chapel. We began on Wednesday night, and we will conclude on Sunday morning with our Sunrise service. What an amazing experience this one is turning out to be for our people. The power of the spoken word of God is unparalleled. When God worked in scripture He did so by speaking into situations. When we speak God's word into our environment and circumstances, He still does miracles. Maybe this weekend you will give this one a try. What situation seems like dry bones to you? Where do you feel hopeless? Try speaking God's word into the situation. Unsure of where to start? Give this one a try: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" Philippians 1:6. He started, and He will finish. Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

"The foot bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone . . . . now hear the word of the Lord."

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