Pastor Dan’s sermon, “Dry Bones” is available to watch or listen to right here.
A number of years ago, my roommates and I had all gone through difficult things right around the same time. Break-ups, job losses — lots of stuff. During that time, we all heard a sermon on Ezekiel 37 at our church. We decided to memorize verses 1-14 — the passage Pastor Dan spoke on yesterday. We wanted this story to be ingrained in us — this picture of God bringing life to dry bones through His Word and Spirit. We even named our pet beta fish Ezekiel to always remind us of this passage. (And Ezekiel lived for 2.5 years, which I think is pretty good for a beta fish!)
I love this passage. The book of Ezekiel is full of amazing and vibrant imagery, and Ezekiel 37 is no exception. As Pastor Dan explained to us in his sermon, the Israelites, God’s people, were exiled to Babylon when Ezekiel saw this vision. Ever since God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they continually forgot Him and His way. Instead of following His law, and worshipping Him alone, they built altars to foreign gods and even put them in God’s temple! Instead of caring for the poor, orphan and widow, like God’s law commanded, they devised ways to feed their greed and ignore justice. Finally, after sending prophet after prophet after prophet to beg the Israelites to turn around, God said “yes” to their sin. He allowed them to be taken over by the Babylonians and lose the blessing of their land.
They went to Babylon in defeat. It is during this time that God began to speak to the prophet Ezekiel. And although the Israelites had been awful and fully rejected God, God had not forgotten them. He is so very faithful and compassionate and loving! In Ezekiel 36, God promises that Israel will be restored to her land — God will bring her back. And in Ezekiel 37, we see how He does it. In this valley of dry, dead, shattered bones, God speaks words of truth through Ezekiel. He says what He will do, and — listen! — the bones rattle and come together. Then God sends His breath — His Spirit — and it enters them and they stand up, filled with life, a vast army! Just when Israel had abandoned hope, God reminded them of His faithfulness and life.
Church, God still breathes life into dry bones! Sometimes we get stuck — we turn away from Him, we get apathetic, or we just don’t feel like following the Lord. But He remains faithful to us. He invites us to get up and follow Him. Our God, who has acted throughout history to restore, allows us to walk alongside of Him, and He helps us to do it. I love the verse Pastor Dan read from Romans 8:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
Read it again; it’s amazing. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit living in us as believers!! What amazing power is within us to help us follow His way.
We serve a good God. He loves us and wants us to follow Him. He gives us tools to do it. Read His Word. Listen to His Spirit. Let Him breathe into you again so you can walk with Him, not as dry and dusty bones, but as living, breathing, Spirit-filled followers of Jesus!