By Sydney Gautier
Ezekiel 37: 1-10 |
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then 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 the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
I remember being in high school and telling myself that if I could just get to college everything would be great. And then when I was in college I couldn’t wait to be out of college because I thought then life would be easier. Then I got out of college and realized, “silly me, can I go back to kindergarten?” Because life after college was just as hard, if not harder. And I saw that hoping for the next thing in life, assuming it will suddenly make life easier was just an endless cycle. There’s always some aspect of difficulty because we live in a broken world. I’m almost 25 and my knees already pop when I walk up and down stairs, there are hurricanes and wars and a lot of the time things look pretty bleak in the world. But when we realize this and stop hoping in the world, our achievements, relationships and ourselves, then we start putting our hope in Christ instead. We realize we are hopeless unless God shows up.
When we read through this scripture of Ezekiel’s vision we are shown a hopeless period in the life of Israel. Ezekiel is set down in a large valley, full of bones, I’d imagine this would be pretty scary and confusing. And as we go back and read this story, we see something crazy happen. We see God bring these bones back together and there was an army of bodies standing there empty. But then God breathed life into them. The Hebrew word that refers to the breath God breathed into these bodies is “ruwach” which means, wind, breath or spirit. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit is almost always referred to as ruwach in the Old Testament. We see ruwach come through wind, breath, or spirit giving life powerfully in Scripture. This is a reminder that the ruwach of God brings life and hope!
In a previously hopeless situation, God stepped in through Ezekiel to offer a message of hope to Israel. This was a time in Israel’s history when people had been starved to death, some were led off as prisoners of war to Babylon, and some were killed. It looked like a pretty hopeless situation. Barry said he pictured them to be frantic, running around trying to fix this mess on their own, but God wanted them to quiet their hearts and hear His words and be filled with hope, “Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit (ruwach) within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
How often do we find ourselves in these types of situations? Feeling utterly hopeless, frantically trying to solve our problems by our own strength; not trusting that God can see the situation from beginning to end and has full control. No matter the situation we find ourselves in, God can breathe life into it. We see this in Exodus when God was leading Moses and the Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land, with the army coming after them, they came to the Red Sea and were at a loss. They couldn’t turn around but they couldn’t go through it either. There was no way out until God sent a wind, ruwach, split the waters and made a way. God is still splitting the Red Sea’s of our lives today, He’s already made a way for us through Jesus, and He continues to show up in our lives daily.
Jesus is the perfect example of the hope we have in God. Barry pointed out that he fully trusted that the ruwach of God would blow upon his ministry, his sacrificial death and that the breath of God would bring him back to life three days later. His perfect hope enables us to hope in God. In our hopeless situations, let's remember that our God is a God who breathes life, that in Him, bleak situations can be redeemed and that we are utterly dependent on God to show up.