Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
TITLE: Dry Bones
By Stacey Kitchens
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Flesh and blood. Life and breath. How can life ever spring from death? More accurately, not just death… bones. Smooth, dry, dead-a-long-time bones. Hope is not far off as long as there is breath. There may be hope in, “just died, still warm.” But bones offer absolutely no hope for life to return… apart from the Spirit of God, that is. John 6:63a says, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” (NIV)
When the Lord asked Ezekiel if the bones of this vast army could live again, his response was correct: “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (NIV) He recognized the impossibility of the situation and the sovereignty of God at the same time. For Israel, it was hopeless. With the Northern Kingdom destroyed by the Assyrians and the people of Judah exiled to Babylon, the nation of Israel was left without a spark of hope. Even the temple of God was in ruins. Could the Lord still restore them as a nation? Nevertheless, this was God’s promise. Not only would He deliver them from the grave, He would give them life and breath – His Spirit. Just as the Lord would wrap flesh around those parched bones and breath life into them, so would He raise the nation of Israel and pour out His Spirit among them.
We may feel a flicker of hope for Israel at this point, but any expectations for life over the “dry bones” surrounding our own feet is another story completely. Even if we do not have skeletons in our closets, most of us have some dry bones lying around somewhere. Things long dead. Dead long enough that we could scarcely expect life to return. An alcoholic parent, a marriage, a teenager on drugs…. It’s been a long time and no signs of life have surfaced. No change has occurred to bring hope. Only silence. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NIV) Sometimes it just takes too long and we lose heart. But though the enemy has come to “steal, kill, and destroy,” Christ has come to bring life! (John 10:10) We forget that He has overcome the grave; that He is the “Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25) Even those dry, sun-bleached bones in our mind’s eye can be brought back to life by the power of His all-sufficient blood. Ephesians 1:19-20 says that this “incomparably great power” available to us, is the same as that power He exerted when Christ was raised from the dead. Resurrection power applied to our own circumstances! “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (NIV)
Listen for the rattling of bones as they all come together. Feel the breath of His Spirit. Watch as He wraps life around death in His resurrection power!
"Death has been swallowed up in victory.” I Corinthians 15:54 (NIV)
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