God’s Work To Raise The Dead
July 27, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: Ezekiel 37:1-14
What circumstance or relationship leaves you with the least hope? What about it seems to be the most perplexing?
DIAGNOSING THE TRUE PROBLEM
The LORD sees what we are and He does not shrink from showing us what we are in the deadness of our attempts to live without Him. So why can we trust that this is loving on His part? Read Ezekiel 37:1-3 & 11. What does it mean for something to be beyond bleak – to be dry, hopeless or cut off? In v. 3, what does God’s question of Ezekiel force him to consider?
Dried bones in a valley could have easily been the leftovers from slaughter and humiliation in battle. Spiritually speaking God was equating those bones with Israel’s exile. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. How deeply do you agree that without Christ you’re dead? How have you thought of yourself as “an easy fix” or are you “dry bones resurrected”? How have you been defeated, humiliated, or even dead without Christ but you have tried to deny it? Confess your pride and unbelief to Jesus, asking Him to forgive and to raise you up to newness of life.
GOD’S WAY OF WORKING (the means of grace)
John’s Gospel begins by speaking of Jesus as full of grace and truth. How does God work to bring life to the dead? Read Ezekiel 37:4-10. Consistent with all of Scripture, in this passage God did two things: 1) He used His Word, vv. 4-6, calling Ezekiel to proclaim His Word to the dead. And 2) by commanding Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind, breath, or Spirit (all the same word in Hebrew) God was calling Ezekiel to call upon the Holy Spirit. God works by His Spirit.
A vehicle needs 2 critical features: propulsion and the ability to steer… God’s Grace accounts for a complete transformation: He gives us external truth with internal motivation, objective reality with subjective interest, knowledge with loyalty. So are you more Word oriented? Or are you more experiential? This is a combination that many in the Church find hard to maintain. Some want merely words; others want ecstatic experience. Both matter!
HOPE TO THE HOPELESS
Believing the Gospel, how has the LORD positioned you to become a messenger of hope? Read Ezekiel 37:11-14 & Ephesians 2:4-9. If the Gospel is a story of God’s work to rescue people like us who were hopeless, why does it make sense that He calls His people to announce His Word to and pray for even the most broken, hopeless, and lifeless?
Clearly, God’s work to raise the dead reveals that He can truly change lives! And who denies the power of death being reversed (e.g. consider popular stories like E.T., Beauty & the Beast, Harry Potter, Anna in Frozen & especially Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe)? So do you believe you’re part of an exceedingly great army? Or do you feel ridiculous speaking to dead bones? What characterizes your prayer-life? Is it pleading for ease, comfort or circumstances, or is it pleading for breath for the dead?
- Worship the LORD that is sovereign even over death and hell. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that there is no person, thing or experience better or greater than He is!
- How have you been defeated, humiliated, or even dead without Christ but you have tried to deny it? Confess your pride and unbelief to Jesus, asking Him to forgive and to raise you up to newness of life.
- Give thanks to Jesus for His work to save us from being lost and dead. Thank Him for His victory over death – that He gives us both direction (by His Truth) and motivation (by His Spirit).
- Whose life would you love to see transformed, especially since it seems so hopeless (and is it your life)? Boldly ask the risen Lord Jesus to breathe life into you and them just as He raised the valley of bones to life.
- Pray for God to lift your gaze for hope in the face of this world’s brokenness. Ask the Holy Spirit to persuade you that Jesus’ work on the cross and His Spirit are what we truly need instead of any earthly circumstance (i.e. money, comfort, status, etc.).