God Pursues Us with New Life
Ezekiel – one of the Major Prophets prophesying to the nation of Judah in captivity. His prophetic ministry occurred in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
A prophet both foretold the future and proclaim God’s Word and will for the present. They were generally black and white (told it like it was) in their communication and revelation of God’s message.
Ezekiel lied during the greatest crisis in Israel’s history – the final destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the exile of the leading citizens to Babylon
The time of his deportation to Babylon – 598/597 B.C. (See 2 Kings 24:10-17).
The date of his call – 593 B.C. (See Ezekiel 1:1). He was 30 years old.
The message of Ezekiel revolves around the ultimate fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) His initial message was one of condemnation and judgment. After the fall Ezekiel message changed to one of a future hope; the restoration of Israel.
Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel
Ezekiel 37:1-14 is a prophetic image of God’s redeeming power; the power of the resurrection.
God’s people are spiritually dead and scattered in exile (Ezekiel 37:1-3).
The vision of the valley of bones reflects the reality of Israel’s spiritual death resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and ultimate captivity. It also reflects an attitude of hopelessness by the captives. It was not just “bones” but “bones” that were “very dry” indicating a process over a period of time (the downfall of Israel resulted from an extended period of spiritual rebellion against God).
The “valley” is like our “graveyard,” full of death.
The prophesy, by application, should remind us of man’s rebellion against God resulting in spiritual death… the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Humanity, apart from Christ, is “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
In the midst of such hopelessness the question comes, “Can these bones live again?” Seeing the carnage before him, Ezekiel deferred to God, “Lord, God, only You know.”
The only answer for hopelessness is “God.”
When Ezekiel saw the picture of death, he knew the only way the bones could live was if God did something miraculous.
What does this prophetic picture say about churches in rebellion against God? Can a church die? Is there the possibility of spiritual resuscitation?
God’s Word is powerful enough to bring life out of death (Ezekiel 37:4-10)
The Power of God’s Word makes something from nothing/brings life from death.
IN this passage God’s Word transformed death into life (This prophecy was actually fulfilled after seventy years of captivity when Israel was allowed to return to Jerusalem). God is always faithful to what He promises; He does what He says He will do.
God’s powerful Word … He spoke (Word) and created the world (Genesis 1). “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (Word) of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Jesus was called the “Word of God” (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13). The believer’s weapon in the conflict against spiritual forces is the “Word” (Ephesians 6:17).
Practically speaking… this prophecy addresses the importance of sharing “God’s Word.”
God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit (“four winds”) brought life out of death. Today the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit can bring spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead … “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). This is called redemption. It can bring life to dead churches. This is called “revival.” One day it will bring eternal life into the bodies of those who have experienced death. This is called “resurrection,” model by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s love and power are displayed in restoring His people (Ezekiel 37:11-14).
God addresses the attitude of the captives reminding them that just as He was faithful to judge sin, He would be faithful to His promise to His covenant with Abraham … that one day He would restore the nation of Israel and bring them back into the Land of Promise
The restoration of Israel was a witness to God’s faithfulness …
Theological Theme: The only cure for death is the power of God’s resurrection.
Christological Theme: Christ died for our sins so that we who were dead in sin might experience life (Ephesians 2:1).
Missional Theme: The believer’s mandate is to share by word of mouth and by the witness of our lives, the “Good News” of God’s resurrection power.