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Ezekiel 37

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Ezekiel 37 CSB
1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. 3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I replied, “Lord God, only you know.” 4 He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army. 11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, my people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am the Lord, my people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 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 am the Lord. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the Lord.’ ” 15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph—the stick of Ephraim—and all the house of Israel associated with him. 17 Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to us what you mean by these things?’—19 tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in my hand.’ 20 “When the sticks you have written on are in your hand and in full view of the people, 21 tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, their abhorrent things, and all their transgressions. I will save them from all their apostasies by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my ordinances, and keep my statutes and obey them. 25 “ ‘They will live in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live in it forever with their children and grandchildren, and my servant David will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a permanent covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 When my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’ ”

he Promise of New Life

Have you ever had a time in your life, where you have just felt like there is just no life in it? Have you ever felt like life is just something you are enduring? Have you ever had a time in your life when it felt to you like all the life has been taken out of it?
Ezekiel 37 CSB
1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. 3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I replied, “Lord God, only you know.” 4 He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army. 11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, my people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am the Lord, my people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 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 am the Lord. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the Lord.’ ” 15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph—the stick of Ephraim—and all the house of Israel associated with him. 17 Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to us what you mean by these things?’—19 tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in my hand.’ 20 “When the sticks you have written on are in your hand and in full view of the people, 21 tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, their abhorrent things, and all their transgressions. I will save them from all their apostasies by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my ordinances, and keep my statutes and obey them. 25 “ ‘They will live in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live in it forever with their children and grandchildren, and my servant David will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a permanent covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 When my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel.’ ”
It’s like if you look around your life, all you seem to see is;
- Pain
- Disappointment
- Failure
- Exhaustion
- dried up lifeless existence
March 18th marked Patrick’s fifth birthday, and with that marked the end of Naomi and my fifth year of parenting. I have to say that in all seriousness, as awesome as it is to be a parent, there have been times over the past couple of years, where through shear exhaustion, it feels as though you have had all of the life sucked out of you.
Have you ever experienced this? Something that has caused you to feel crushed?
Perhaps a time of illness
* Perhaps the loss of a loved one
Perhaps the loss of a loved one
* Perhaps a major failure
Perhaps a major failure
* Perhaps someone has betrayed you
Perhaps someone has betrayed you
We all go through times like this in life.
Ezekiel did, and the people of Israel did.
Ezekiel did, and the people of Israel did.
But what we see in this passage in , is God telling his people who are crushed and made to feel dead by the terrible circumstances that they find themselves in, that he cares about their situation and will breath new life into them. God will make them alive again.
But before we get stuck into all that, I thought it would be a good idea if we spent sometime looking at the context of Ezekiel. It’s really hard, particularly in series like this, where we are looking at a different book of the bible each week, to just fly in and out of different parts of the bible. We can lose sight of where we actually find ourselves.

So what is this book Ezekiel all about?

Ezekiel is a prophecy from the exile. Came from Yahweh during the first part of the Exile, between 593 and 571 B.C. The captivity of a select group of Judean's in 597 was followed latter by a more general exile in 586.
Ezekiel ben Buzi came from a priestly family (1:3). He grew up in Jerusalem and was taken into exile in 597, at the age of about 25 (see 33:21; ). He was around 30 when he was called to the prophetic office.
The Exilic period was an incredibly hard time for God’s people. Many questions would have arisen for them, like;
Was the God’s presence limited to their home land?
Was God impotent against the gods of Babylon?
* Was God impotent against the gods of Babylon?
Had God forgotten about them?
* Had God forgotten about them?
You know the questions that they were asking, are not that dissimilar to questions we find ourselves asking God when we go through trail’s of these kinds.
Does God still care about us?
* Where is God in this situation?
Where is God in this situation?
Does God even care?
* Does God even care?
Ezekiel himself, was someone familiar to suffering. As I mentioned, he was one of those deported to Babylon, so he was familiar with the struggles familiar to his countrymen.
But Ezekiel had also gone through the pain of losing his wife. tell’s us how his wife, whom we are told was ‘the delight of his eyes’. Ezekiel knew pain. Personal pain of losing the person closest to him.
So it’s in this context that we find Ezekiel being lead through a valley of dry bones. Can you imagine what that must have been like? When ever I have thought of this passage, I think of the hyenas from the ‘Lion King’, and the elephant graveyard that they live in; bones everywhere.
Ezekiel is walking through this valley, up and down, back and forth, and God asks him ‘Can these bones live’.

Can dead things live?

What might you be tempted to say if you where Ezekiel? If your life had consisted of being removed from your homeland by an invading army, to have your beloved wife die, and experience considerable opposition from those around you? I might be tempted to say; “No, God. Dead things are dead.”
We might expect, because Ezekiel is a good prophet of God, that he would say all the right answers and proclaim in response to God’s question, “Of course they can God! You can do anything!”
But what does Ezekiel say? “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Ezekiel seems to be in that place in life, where he still has some glimmer of faith, but he just isn’t sure anymore. It’s like he want’s to believe that these bones could be made new, but if he looked at the evidence present in his own life, he would be hard pressed to find hope.
What God then does in that moment is amazing. He commands Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones, and bring them to life.
Ezekiel 37:4–10 CSB
4 He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.
Read *
> 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 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.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to witness this?
God then explains that this isn't just a really cool vision, but this is a prophecy about what he is going to so for His people.
God then explains that this isn't just a really cool vision, but this is a prophecy about what he is going to so for His people.
*
Ezekiel 37:11–14 CSB
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, my people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am the Lord, my people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 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 am the Lord. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the Lord.’ ”
*Read *
God had a plan to restore his people to life. He was going to restore his people from death to life. We are in the amazing position that we are now the beneficiaries of this prophecy. Death has been defeat, for us, so that we can know now life.
> Then he said to me: 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house 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.' '
God had a plan to restore his people to life. He was going to restore his people from death to life. We are in the amazing position that we are now the beneficiaries of this prophecy. Death has been defeat, for us, so that we can know now life.
In , Paul explains clearly what God has done for us through Jesus death ad resurrection;
The passage Ian shared with us from last week from , explains clearly what God has done for us through Jesus death ad resurrection;
*
Ephesians 2:4–6 CSB
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
**
> But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
The plan that God had in Ezekiel, was for;
The plan that God had in Ezekiel, was for Jesus to bring life to those who follow God.

Jesus to bring life to those who follow God.

But how does Jesus really bring us life?
Is this just pie in-the-sky ideas?
How does Jesus bring life to our lives?
- How does Jesus bring life to our lives?
How can Jesus help us when we are crushed by our circumstances?
- How can Jesus help us when we are crushed by our circumstances?
If anyone is qualified to show us how Jesus brings life, in the midst of hard circumstances, it was the Apostle Paul. He writes this in ;
If anyone is qualified to show us how Jesus brings life, in the midst of hard circumstances, it was the Apostle Paul. He writes this in ;
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
> Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
We have a hope in Jesus. Without Jesus there is no hope. "Your labor in the Lord is not in vain." We can have hope that the trails in this world are merely temporary, and that God will bring us life way beyond this life.
We have a hope in Jesus. Without Jesus there is no hope. "Your labor in the Lord is not in vain." We can have hope that the trails in this world are merely temporary, and that God will bring us life way beyond this life.
We can often confuse the message of Jesus, and think that somehow as Christians we are now exempt from hardship. It's actually quite the opposite. Jesus told his disciples to expect it, even to be thankful for it!
We can often confuse the message of Jesus, and think that somehow as Christians we are now exempt from hardship. It's actually quite the opposite. Jesus told his disciples to expect it, even to be thankful for it!
But we can have hope in the future, even in the midst of great trials, that God will work all things out for his purposes and glory, and because of this hope, we can experience LIFE now.
But we can have hope in the future, even in the midst of great trials, that God will work all things out for his purposes and glory, and because of this hope, we can experience LIFE now.
Remember a few years ago when Indonesia executed members of the "Bali Nine"? It was an incredibly sad situation, with these men who had in many ways changed their lives and had so much to offer, being killed for drug smuggling.
The last week, we have been witness to the terrible tragedy that was the execution of the convicted drug smugglers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Both men has seemly reformed their lives. The Herald Sun ran a story of one of Andrew Chan's friends, Phil Rithfield, and his communication with Andrew.
I was struck by an interview though at the time, with one of the convicted men, Andrew Chan, and saved it then, and feel it's really applicable to this mornings message.
Here is an excerpt from part of their interview;
Here is an excerpt from part of their interview;
> Rothfield: How u going?
>
> Chan: Same old, same old.
>
> Rothfield: What you up to?
> Chan: Just heard that there probably shifting me over to the other prison.
> Chan: Just heard that there probably shifting me over to the other prison.
> Rothfield: Really. Are you scared?
> Rothfield: Really. Are you scared?
> Chan: I’m OK about it. It’s pointless dwelling on it. I was supposed to die two weeks ago. Nar it’s not the greatest news but hey I’m still alive today.
> Chan: I’m OK about it. It’s pointless dwelling on it. I was supposed to die two weeks ago. Nar it’s not the greatest news but hey I’m still alive today.
> Rothfield: How do you handle ur situation. I couldn’t sleep if it was me.
> Rothfield: How do you handle ur situation. I couldn’t sleep if it was me.
> Chan: Honestly Jesus. Basically 10 years ago I was going to kill myself. Something happened, something I never believed in my whole entire life. That there is a God and he existed and he is real.
> Chan: Honestly Jesus. Basically 10 years ago I was going to kill myself. Something happened, something I never believed in my whole entire life. That there is a God and he existed and he is real.
Here is a man who has lived under the reality of impending death for more than 10 years, and what does he put down as his reason for living? Jesus.
Jesus completely transformed his life. From a heroin addict/drug smuggler, to a prison pastor. The article explains how Chan sold his most prized possession, a signed NRL Panther's jersey, in order to raise money for the victims of the Philippines disaster. God bought life, into a Balinese prison, to a man convicted to die!
Even in the face of the firing squad, the men linked arms and sang amazing grace. Why? Where they just crazy? Or had they experienced and gotten hold of a New Life, a life promised to all who believe in Jesus that though we die – we will live – and while we are still alive we can have life and life to the fullest? A life that no bullet could ever squash?
I spoke earlier of the last year often feeling at times like all the life had been sucked out. I can tell you though that when I come before God, and ask for him to breath his life back into me afresh, I feel new. I have life. I think we need to do this regularly; to come before God and ask for his life.



**What about you?**
Do you feel like your walking in a valley of bones?
Is;
- Pain
- Disappointment
- Failure
- Exhaustion
weighing you down?
This morning, God want's to breath life back into you.
Jesus said in , "I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
The life God created for us to live in right relationship with Him is made to be more than simply enduring it – trying to get through in the best way you can – but to let God speak life to your circumstances, speak life to your health and life to all the areas in your life that need to be restored, renewed,
Life wasn't made to be endured. We were designed to experience the breath of God.
**Pray**
During this time of prayer I invite you to pray specifically for what you see as an area that was dried up and feels lifeless in your life.
Lord I pray for all of us to be filled up afresh with the Holy Spirit to bring new life and renewal into our lives.
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