Monday, August 31, 2009

Mr. Bones

I was reading in the great OT book of Ezekiel this morning and found myself very encouraged by what would seemingly be a very simple concept. Although, with God, even the most simple concepts can be eternally complex to mere human understanding. In Ezekiel 37, God is giving Ezekiel yet another vision; this one being about dried out human bones. Starting in verse 4, the Lord asks him, “Can these bones live?” [He] answered, “Lord God, only you know.” [Then God] said to [him], “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord God says to the bones: I will cause breath to enter you so you will come to life. I will put muscles on you and flesh on you and cover you with skin. Then I will breath in you so you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” And don’t you know…it actually happened (vs. 7 & 8). Verse 13 continues with God saying, “My people, you will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and cause you to come up from them. And I will put my Spirit inside you, and you will come to life.” To be honest, I pictured all this taking place in the elephant graveyard from Lion King. Ezekiel was kind of like Zazu going along with Simba and Nala and then all of the sudden everything got dark and things started eerily moving around and morphing together. Simba and Nala, scared to death and not listening to a word of comfort coming from Zazu, would keep trying to hide behind the bones only to have them suddenly move out from in front of them. Finally all the elephants were in full form again and began chasing off all the hyenas, haha….but maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, back to the Bible… though God was superficially referring to the people of Israel here, I think He is also painting a beautiful picture of the salvation we find in Christ. The process of going from spiritual death to spiritual life is a miraculous one, much like imagining completely dry bones becoming a living, breathing, fighting army, and only God himself can make such a thing happen. He alone is the one who has chosen His people to come up out of the grave of spiritual darkness to become truly alive and filled with His Holy Spirit and to begin living the life He intended. The reference to calling His people up out of the grave reminds us that we are never even truly alive until we are alive in Christ, and the very breath of which comes solely from the Holy Spirit. No matter how alive we may think we are with living flesh on our bones and rushing blood through our bodies…it is all a mere deception to the true “aliveness” found only in Christ.
I was then reminded that once we are alive…truly alive, we are not done. It’s not a set out perfect road for the rest of life. I was reminded of something a lovely Beaver once told me about the concept of spiritual breathing ;-) In this concept of now being truly alive comes with it a different air and a new way of breathing. Just as often as I would breathe physically, I should breathe spiritually…inhaling the pure and exhaling the impure. When you inhale the pureness of Christ, you are surrendering control of your life to the Spirit’s power, according to the command found in Ephesians 5:18 and supported by the promise found in I John 5:14-15. Then when you exhale you are getting rid of the sin that is in disagreement with the Spirit you just inhaled, and with confidence knowing that it’s fully forgiven (I John 1:9).
Anyway, I just found that picture of dry bones becoming living flesh very encouraging personally. It is a beautiful thing that Christ did, but I am humbly reminded I must also do my part and breathe spiritually.

And speaking of encouraging things…yesterday we had an 8 year old deliver our church message. When Jessica jokingly asked the younger kids who was going to preach the next day, Elisa eagerly said she would…and she did! She picked out a Bible story about Abraham and courageously read it in front of all her brothers and sisters and then corralled some of her comrades together to sing “Father Abraham” as special music. That whole “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young” verse…its true. As for next week…Luka…he’s 6! :-) What a nice little trend one brave little girl has started!!

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