Hello friends! I am very sorry about this post coming out so late! My laptop was with the computer Doctor this week after having a panic attack and meltdown! 🙂 This sermon is from Ezekiel 37:1-14. I would recommend cracking open your Bible and giving it a quick read before you read the sermon if you get a chance. God bless, Phil!
The images of the prophet Ezekiel are haunting and horrible, a valley of dry, dusty bones so numerous that no one can count how many have fallen. A great battle that no one survived, no one got out alive. There was not even a person left to bury the dead but they were left were they died. The ultimate end that makes one ask; “what was it all for and why all of the effort, when the end result is only the same?” The preacher of Ecclesiastes summarizes it this way.
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
Not exactly happy cheery, I know, but an apt description nonetheless. The image is familiar to us, we live within it everyday. Generations come and generations go, but nothing seems to really change. Same struggle, same destiny, a world filled with dry, dusty bones, no one gets out of this life alive. Some days we feel just as dry and just as dusty while we are still walking around and living. We live and work, day in and day out, struggle and strive, and wonder sometimes quietly, sometimes out loud, “what is it all for, why all of the effort?”
In the midst of that valley of dry, dusty bones a voice is heard even if there are no ears to hear it. The Lord God says speak to these dusty bones, let your voice echo across the valley, prophesy and point them to something greater.
In our own valley of dry, dusty bones, we hear the echo of a voice speaking to us as well; prophesying and pointing us to something greater than the dust that surrounds us. We see the vastness of creation, fine-tuned in just the right way by the creator’s hand so that life can flourish and grow. We see love in a gentle touch, a selfless act, sacrifices given with nothing expected in return. Real love in a dusty bones world that that kind love really has no business being in. We see hope and meaning beyond the dust and beyond what our eyes can see and our hands can touch.
But all of these things: creation, love and hope cannot make these dry dusty bones of ours alive again. They can only point us in the right direction, to that which is beyond our valley of dry and dusty bones. To that which is all-powerful and all-knowing and eternal, that brings all of creation into existence from nothing. But also pointing us to whose very being is Love and in that love brings hope and meaning where there was no hope or meaning, that brings into existence that which did not exist.
But how can a valley of dry, dusty bones become a part of and know that one, who is love and hope and meaning. We see the pointers but we do not know the way. Besides, what can dry and dusty bones do but remain dry and dusty bones, laying in the valley all alone?
Love must come to us.
Prophesy to them, says the Lord to Ezekiel. “ I, the Lord God will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord!” That, who is almighty, all-knowing, who is the true source of love and hope and meaning from eternity, spoke and the breath of the Lord God caused those dry bones to live. The Word of the Lord made those dry bones live.
“I am the resurrection and the life,” says Jesus. “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 8:25-26)
No longer do we need to wonder where these echoes of a voice are coming from or where these pointers are directing us to you. No longer do we have to lie in the dust in despair, living on the outside but dead on the inside, wondering about who is out there but never able to know, knowing love is out there but never able to get there.
Love came to us.
Love came to our valley of dry bones. I am the resurrection and the life. Love breathed into us and made us alive in the Spirit. Even though you die yet shall you live. Love came to us so that we might be within the love of God eternally. Everyone who believes in Jesus shall never die. Jesus is God’s love come to us, meeting us in our valley of dry bones and breathing eternal life into us. Do you believe this? These dry bones, made alive in Jesus, respond to the love of God by loving and praising God for all that God has done for us. For saving these dry bones that could never save themselves.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God has come down to us in Jesus so that we can be a part of the love of God, live within that love eternally and share that love with others. Those who are in Jesus still live in a valley of dry, dusty bones. Those dry and dusty bones are walking around, living and breathing on the outside but dead in the spirit on the inside apart from the love of God. The pointers are still there, pointing to something greater and the echoes of a voice can still be heard calling out. But now, there is something else, God speaks and commands you, just like the prophet Ezekiel of old, it is your turn to prophesy to these bones, to tell them about the love of God in Jesus that makes these dry bones alive eternally. Tell them about how Love from eternity came to us to love us and to bring us into that love forever. Share the Word of God with them and watch God breath new life into dry bones because,
Love came to us in Jesus.