Bible Society of South Africa
Gerhard Lindeque

Pentecost – Day 1 (25 June)

God’s Spirit gives life

Bible text(s)

The Valley of Dry Bones

1I felt the powerful presence of the LORD, and his Spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. 2He led me all round the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?”

I replied, “Sovereign LORD, only you can answer that!”

4He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the LORD. 5Tell them that I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. 6I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”

7So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together. 8While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies.

9God said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind. Tell the wind that the Sovereign LORD commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.”

10So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army.

11God said to me, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. 12So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the Sovereign LORD, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. 13When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the LORD. 14I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the LORD. I have promised that I would do this — and I will. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Ezekiel 37:1-14GNBOpen in Bible reader

It is often only when we reach our lowest point in our lives that we experience the power of God’s Spirit. After all, Jesus Christ taught us: Blessed are those who know how dependent they are on God. We also remember Paul’s famous words: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The prophet Ezekiel is going through a spiritual low. He experiences that he is in a valley full of dry bones. The whole picture speaks of death and hopelessness. It is symbolic of the nation of Israel in exile. They lost courage. Sometimes we feel that way too – we no longer feel like living. We find it difficult to look to the future. The sadness overwhelms us and we feel spiritually drained.

In the scripture, the Lord shows the prophet a situation that seems impossible and asks him to do something that sounds completely illogical. He must stand firm as a prophet and speak to the dry bones. In this way, God involves Ezekiel. God works miracles while you and I continue with our responsibilities as children of the Lord – no matter how dire things around us may seem.

How do we, as children of God, act when faced with difficult situations? Not by withdrawing ourselves and giving up, but by continuing with our responsibilities as children of God. God’s Spirit now dwells in us and makes us alive. He makes us look forward again and shapes us into new people who start living and acting in a new way. God ultimately works miracles when we live with forgiveness, compassion and endurance. There is hope. We will start to experience God’s deliverance more and this will happen in ways we do not expect.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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