Dry bones

I was astounded to see all parallelisms of Chapter 17 in “The Story” to the New Testament, particularly in the gospel of John.

Words to speak:

Throughout the story, we see God giving men and women specific words to speak.  In Jeremiah, God makes a vivid account of how he gave Jeremiah the words.

“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said, to me, “I have put my words in your moth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”  Jeremiah 1:9-10

He also gave Ezekiel the words to speak:

“He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.” Ezekiel 2:1

And then in the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks about the promise of the Holy Spirit and its function and role in our lives.

 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:25-26

“You will be brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities. But do not worry about how to stand up for yourselves or what to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11-12

We see how God gave Paul the words to speak as well in these two verses:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:19

Do not fear:

God tells Jeremiah not to fear:

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8

And throughout Jesus’ life, he reminds us not to fear, but to trust in God.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Unbelievable, Remarkable Hope
But the greatest parallelism that I found was through the words of Ezekiel:

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and 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, “O 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.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel is not talking to the unbelievers but those who are supposed to be the people of God. They are dry and no life is found in them. The only thing that can bring them back to life is God’s breath, his Word spoken and proclaimed amongst the dry bones. God is the only one that can bring them back to life. To his fellow exiles, Ezekiel speaks these words of hope for a people who may feel abandoned. God will bring them back to life again.

The same words can be spoken today. Wherever you are in life, if you feel lost and abandoned, God can and will bring you back to life. His breath, his Word can bring you back from the depths of depression or bad choices that have led you on the path to nowhere. Nothing is impossible with God.

“It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:12-14

It is time to wake up you sleepers. God has called us from dry bones and given us breath and light and hope that is unspeakable, unbelievable, and remarkable.

What message does the valley of dry bones convey to you?