Have you ever had an experience of a dead end in a particular matter ?Till you are left without breath. Without help. Without hope. Dead end. Dead till there is decay and what’s left is a pile of dry bone, giving distant evidence of past life !
Some of us have stories of dead ends in this life. We sometimes get stuck in this race. We hit brick walls many times. We exhaust options. We deplete hope and drain help. We are left for dead. We seem to exhaust all help!
Some of us know the dead ends of financial difficulties, incurable diseases, depression, sexual abuse, lonely loveless relationships, unemployment, grieving the loss of a loved one, broken marriages or family conflicts that won’t budge. The list can be endless!
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones is a metaphor for the renewal of the people of Israel. They were at a dead end. They were exiles in Babylonian captivity. Their land was ravaged, their temple destroyed, and their families scattered. They were refugees in a strange land. They were done!
They regarded this political and military defeat as an irrevocable historical judgment. Marduk, the idol god of the Babylonians, had seemingly prevailed. Yahweh had proven impotent, their faith had proven inadequate, and the covenant promises had proven insufficient. The formation of a strong kingdom of Israel with a king had backfired .
So, stuck in Babylon some sat by the river and sang old songs, while others scoffed. They were like a field of bones: dry, dusty, sun bleached, and dead still.
Then God called Ezekiel to go stand in the middle of the cemetery. Climb up on a tombstone, with neck bones and thigh bones and wish bones as far as he could see, and proclaim:
” Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 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.”
Don’t be fooled by dead ends. Don’t trust your eyes or ears that its over. It is not over yet. Hope in God. For when you’re without power, when you’re weak, when you’ve run out of options, when you’re dead, there is still the breath of God.
Indeed in 50 years time that mighty Babylon came down, the Israelites went back to their own land and rebuilt their cities and temple. Gods glory descended back on the nation.
God continues to breathe new life into dead ends and dry bones. There is still the deep longing that God is at work in creation even today.
So, despite overwhelming evidence we still cling to the hope that the breath of God will blow up with a roar, and rattle old bones, and marriages that are dead in the water will find new winds of love, and stone cold drunks will breathe sober, and those embalmed with greed will be alive with compassion. Some businesses and projects will have life again!
Both poverty of spirit and pocket will he flush with richness, and those dry with depression will be drenched with deep laughter, and this old world will be turned upside, and refugees will dance of justice and mercy and peace, and death won’t have the last word.
I don’t know what is dead in your heart. I don’t know where death has a grip in your life.I don’t know how dry and brittle you are. But, the will of God is that life will come out of death.
Our faith is not an empty optimism or confidence in the power of the human spirit; our faith is in the breath of God, breathing new life even in dead ends.
May the breath of God ,The Holy Spirit, breath over you right now, giving new life to your body , soul and spirit.
Be revived in Jesus name!