Yesterday at Central, we concluded a two-month study of Ezekiel with a look at the well-known Dry Bones Vision in Ezekiel 37. The Lord shows his prophet the dead, dry, lifeless, hopeless, valley of bones. The bones represent the people of God who have rebelled against him. They are dead: no salvation, no relationship, no life, no hope. These are not dead corpses; these are dry skeletal remains. No pulse, no blood, no organs, no hope.
And the Lord asks his prophet, “Can these bones live?”
I’m sure Ezekiel’s first thought was, “Of course not! They can’t live! They’re bones!”
But then he remembers to whom he’s speaking. He’s talking to the almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. So he replies, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
And then God raises the bones back to life. He breathes his Spirit into the bones and they come together and stand, living, breathing, walking, talking, fully alive — a vast army! God shows Ezekiel that he not only has the power to make the dry bones live again, he has the will to make it happen. See, there’s a big difference between knowing God has the power to bring dead people back to life and knowing he WILL bring dead people back to life. Of course, God can. Praise God, yes, he will! “You will come back to life,” he says!
Because of God’s power and his grace and his will, the prospect for life in the middle of death is real. In fact, it’s very, very real. Because this is what God wants to happen. And the neat thing about being God is that he always gets what he wants. And he wants to give dead people life.
So, yesterday we spent a good deal of our time together writing the names of people we love who are spiritually dead and placing them on a big dry bones mural that was painted last week by one of our members. Our kids and grandkids. Our spouses. Our nephews and nieces. Our best friends and former college roommates and next-door-neighbors. We pout them on the board and we lifted them up to God in prayer and in faith that he really wants to breathe brand new resurrection life into our loved ones.
Our God is the One who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Our God looks at death and he sees possibility. He sees hope. He sees life.
Thank you to our Central family for your heart-felt participation in yesterday’s worship assembly. Thank you all for you open hearts and confessing spirits and willingness to be vulnerable and transparent in front of one another. And thank you for the honor, the rich privilege, of being your preacher for five blessed years.
A tradition at Central is that when the ministers go to Abilene for the ACU Summit, we always take our Central kids at ACU out to lunch. And today was the day. We were honored to be joined at Sharky’s this afternoon by Matt, Brooke, Slade, Taylor, and Mikayla. What a joy! Thank y’all for spending the hour with us, for sharing your stories and your laughter and your lives with us. Now, get back to class!