Faithlife Sermons

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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?
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.
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.
*
*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;
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