The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley. . . . I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 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.’” Ezek. 37:1-6
Dear heavenly Father, I would do well to meditate on this portion of your Word once a month—no, make that at least once a week. For it “calls out” my unbelief, confronts my complacency, and deconstructs every excuse I offer for giving up on spiritual dryness and discouraging situations.
Many of us hurt for churches, friends and marriages that fulfill Ezekiel’s description of piles of dry, breathless bones. Some of us put ourselves right in the center of the prophet’s vision. Vibrant green has become ashen grey. The music and dance of the gospel have faded away. Delight in the Lord has been replaced with disconnect, distrust, and for some, despair.
But it’s not Ezekiel who asks about the possibility of renewal, redemption, and restoration; it’s you, Father. It’s you! “Can these bones live?” you ask. The question is rhetorical, for you are the God of resurrection! I’ll not presume on the process, but I’ll trust in your great promises.
Father, for your glory, I ask you to breathe on the bone-dry marriages of a few dear friends. I pray the same for a few pastor-friends of mine and their church families. Where there’s little life, and less hope left, bring a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a renewed affections for Jesus. Do what you alone can do as God. Things impossible with us are more than possible with you!
What but the love of Jesus can transform stubborn hearts into supple hearts; what but your grace can replace mean with mercy; what but the Spirit’s power can supplant self-protective willfulness with gospel willingness? Who but Jesus can transform cold antipathy into kindhearted intimacy? These are my rhetorical questions, Father, for I know of no other hope for cold marriages, dead churches, or hard hearts but Jesus and his great love lavished on us in the gospel.
Indeed, Lord Jesus, you are the resurrection and life. Today, on this Pentecost Sunday, I pray with joy and anticipation. You are actively making all things new! Bring life—your life, to our places of dryness and death. Restore to us the joy of your salvation, the hope of your resurrection, a passion for your glory. So very Amen I pray, in the tender mercies of your great name.