Recently, at the supper table, our family was having a discussion on our favorite Bible characters and stories. Mine is Ruth. She followed her mother-in-law into a new land even though her husband was dead. Ruth became the catalyst for a series of events that would continue the lineage of David and then later, Jesus.
My son, Deven, said he likes Josiah (His first name is Josiah). But he loves the idea of an 8 year old boy being a king, and standing up for God!
My husband, John, likes Boaz, the kinsman redeemer of Ruth and Naomi (see my description of Ruth). There’s something truly beautiful about this man, Boaz, and his sacrifice to redeem these two women from their hardship.
And then there’s my son, Ben. He declared with confidence that he really likes the story in Ezekiel of the dry bones. Now, at first, I was a little taken aback that my eight-year-old son was familiar with this story (I mean, it’s not one of those regularly taught from in Kids’ Church, y’know!?) Then, he also knew where it was found–Ezekiel. But, then it dawned on me that he probably liked it because it had a “scary” element to it and, being a typical boy, he loves those types of things. So I asked him why he likes that story so much, expecting his answer to be something about “dem bones”, but he surprised me. Ben said, “Can you imagine how it must have felt to be there when a whole army came out of those dried up pile of bones!?” And again, I was wrong. My son fully grasped what that story was about. Now for those of you not familiar with this story, that’s okay!
It’s found in Ezekiel chapter 37, verses 1-14:The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “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[a] 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.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin 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 it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.Then you, my people, will know 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, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
What a cool story! There’s one part of this that really sticks out to me: their bones are dried up and their “hope is gone” and then later the Lord says “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live”.
Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt like a pile of dried up bones with no hope? Perhaps you feel that all hope is lost in your marriage or in your children or your finances or your health? But there is a promise here from God: he will put his Spirit in us and we will live! He will breathe new life into your situation: your marriage can be restored! Your children can turn to God! Your finances can turn around! Your health can be renewed! And you can live again!
I believe that as we receive the Spirit of the Lord in our lives our “dry bones” can live again! He will settle you in your own land. Right where you are: you can be settled. That word “settle” is familiar, especially to Mamas. How often do you say “settle down” to your rambunctious bunch? I say it a lot, but in the original text it means “to rest and remain”. Now imagine this: God not only restores your situation, but he helps you find rest to remain in it. I love that!
So often, we tend to want to escape from the difficulties, but the Spirit of God wants to restore you so that you may settle in your own place! What a promise! I hope that you will allow the dry bones of your life to receive fresh breath and to live again!
Father, I believe someone reading this is in a valley of dry bones and they need your Spirit to breathe new life into their situation. I ask right now that you will do that for them. I ask that you help them find hope in this situation and be able to settle into their own land. Thank you for this promise and thank you for this work in each of our lives! Amen.