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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Rise Up, You Sleepers
By Ruth Neilson


Josef felt like he was flying as he stood on the cliff. His arms were spread wide catching the wind swooping up from the valley. It had become a pilgrimage of sorts with his small church to return to Berchtesgaden and seek God’s presence, nestled away in a mountain chalet.

Hunger and desperation for the Lord seemed to fuel these small retreats. And here he stood, on the edge of a precipice, determined not to go anywhere until God moved on his life. Josef lifted his face to the heavens and cried out, “Here I am!”

His voice was caught away in the wind, echoing eerily down into the valley below.

The wind whipped up furiously, pushing him backwards away from the edge. Josef grit his teeth and stubbornly dug his heels in. He called out again, “I’m not moving until You speak to me!”

The wind went still and Josef blinked rapidly as an audible voice whispered, “Look, Josef, look across your home country.”

In that instant, Josef’s eyes were opened. He could see all of Deutschland. It was filled with people who were lost and slowly starving to death. Before Josef’s newly opened eyes, he watched as his country men died, until the country was filled with dry bones.

The voice asked, “Tell me, Josef, can these dry bones live?”

Josef swallowed painfully. “God, only You know that.” he whispered, tears pricking his eyes.

“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.”

Josef stumbled backwards as the words echoed through his body. Slowly, carefully, he repeated the commands to the bones and then grinned faintly as a soft sound of rattling bones filled the still air.

Bone drew close to bone with tendons attaching them to each other. The wind swept through the valley, bringing in rain clouds. Mud formed flesh and organs, and soon, a population of millions stood before Josef. But their eyes were blank; there was no life in them.

Josef felt tears start to fall freely as the next set of instructions were given, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”

The winds whipped wildly around Josef as the words tumbled from his mouth. He watched in amazement as slowly the people of Deutschland began to live. “God, what does this mean?” he whispered, spreading his arms back into the wind.

“Josef, tell my people that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put My Spirit in you and you will live...Then you will know that I the LORD has spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.”

At that, Josef closed his eyes and wept at the enormity of his task. Surely, he couldn’t do this on his own. He fell backwards, landing hard on his back, only to be immediately cradled in God’s arms.

“My son, I AM your God and I will provide all of your needs! Be strong and courageous, for I AM with you, always unto the end of the age. Now, stand, and make your declaration here on My mountaintop.”

Josef slowly stood up, and cautiously approached the edge of the cliff. He moved awkwardly, his limbs feeling weighted down. He brokenly stared down into the valley drawing in a deep breath before crying out, “Rise up you sleeper, awake, HE makes all things new!”*
Scriptures from Ezekiel 37.
*Song lyrics from Andrew Peterson’s “All Things New” from: Resurrection Letters, Volume II.

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This article has been read 752 times
Member Comments
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Shirley McClay 02/26/09
A Bible story! Awesome. I love it when someone takes a Bible story and brings it to life with details. Beautifully done!

I am confused as to why you used the name Josef?
Joanne Sher 02/27/09
I was also confused by the name. Are you putting Ezekiel 37 in a different time and context? The mention of Deutchland also threw me off.

Regardless, this is beautifully crafted and masterfully expressed. Beautiful language especially.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/09
I totally get it! What an excellent idea, and gorgeously written.
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
I like how you took this familiar Bible story and breathed new life into it by using a different person and setting. Good job with this!
Bryan Ridenour03/03/09
Great writing! Powerful and moving piece!
Margaret Gass03/04/09
My favorite line is "Surely, he couldn't do this on his own." We can't do anything on our own, especially the things he has called us to do. I like the image of Josef falling back, to be cradled in His arms. He will indeed provide our needs.
Diana Dart 03/04/09
God calls us to His will during ANY time in history and this piece shouted that loud and clear. Nice job.
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
I've just got to ask... is this the dry bones of the Jewish Holocaust? Berchtesgaden was a key place in the operation of the Hitler political system if I recall correctly. If so, this is an AMAZING analogy.

If not, it still is.
Sara Harricharan 03/04/09
Wow! Loved seeing this in a new light, very well done here. An interesting read for today! ^_^