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News for Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
July 13: Hope of New Life
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton
Focal Passage: Ezekiel 37:1-3, 11-14, 23-28
“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Now hear the Word of the Lord.”
Do you have that tune in your head now? What a remarkable vision that God gave Ezekiel as he continues to cast a vision of hope for the Israelites. The Israelites must have felt as though the life they once knew was never to be realized again. Exiled into Babylonian captivity, and their national pride destroyed, must have made them feel less than alive. But God had given Ezekiel a vision of hope to share with the embattled nation, a vision of “dem dry bones” coming to life once again.
The “very dry” bones that God showed to Ezekiel in this amazing vision of prophecy represented how very dry the spiritual lives of the Israelites were. Ezekiel deserves some applause for not bursting into laughter when asked of God if the very dry bones he saw could live again Our modern day thought process would surely dismiss such a miracle. But we see the spiritual maturity of the prophet of God resound when he responds in faith and trust in God by simply saying, “Lord God, only You know.” Ezekiel understood that God was the giver of life. The recording of God breathing life into man for the very first time is found in Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being” (HCSB). From this passage Ezekiel knew, and we know that God is the giver of life both physical and spiritual. Life is a gift from God. The possibility of new spiritual life was available to the dry spiritual bones of Israel in Ezekiel’s day and that same life is available to us when our spiritual lives are dry and ineffective.
God told Ezekiel exactly what this new life was going to look like. In verses 12-14 God told Ezekiel to prophesy that the people would be re-established in the land of Israel. This had to be refreshing news for a people who were less than full of life because of their exile. But God wasn’t only concerned with a physical restoration for the people of Israel; He was more concerned with a spiritual life renewal for the people. In verse 14 God tells the people that their spiritual life would be renewed by the Spirit of God. “I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live. …” The process of spiritual life for the believer is the entering in of the Holy Spirit. That is the breath of spiritual life that changes us from the inside out! II Corinthians 5:17 shows us what this new life looks like, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (HCSB). The process of this new life isn’t always easy, but the results of new life in Christ are always amazing.
What are the results of this new life? God tells the people through Ezekiel exactly what they could expect with this breath of new spiritual life. Verses 23-28 tell of a people with a heart turned to God, a King to lead them after God’s own heart, a land that would be their inheritance, and a good shepherd who would remain their God forever.
“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Now hear the Word of the Lord.” That’s the message for us today too. May we hear the Word of the Lord. May we allow His Holy Spirit to live in and through us. Don’t forget you are a new creation!
— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.
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