Can These Bones Live?
The influences and gifts of the Spirit of God are of two sorts, either common or saving. The variety of these influences of the Spirit.
Hence He is compared unto eye-salve Revelation We are said to be "saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" Titus Hence He is called "a new Spirit. This is the south wind, as it were, gentle and easy, and refreshing; and therefore He is called the Comforter.
By the breathings of the Spirit the feeble are made "like David, and as the angel of God before Him. He is like oil to their chariot wheels; and when He comes, they are as the chariots of Amminadib, or a willing people.
The manner of the acting or operation of these influences, or how it is that this wind blows upon the soul. He masters the darkness of the mind, the contumacy and rebellion of the will, and the carnality of the affections: the enmity of the heart against God, and all the spiritual wickedness that are in the high places of the soul, are made to fall down at His feet, as Dagon did before the ark of the Lord.
The necessity of these breathings. From the express acknowledgment of the saints of God upon this head 2 Corinthians From the earnest prayers of the saints for the breathings of this wind Song of Solomon To the quickening of the elect of God, when they are stark dead in trespasses and sins. For the suitable discharge of every duty of religion.
For accomplishing our spiritual warfare against sin, Satan, and the world. To the exercise of grace already implanted in the soul. Some of the reasons of these influences of the Spirit: for the wind, you know, has its seasons and times of blowing and breathing.
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET EZEKIEL
It is a life of faith Galatians It is a life of justification. It is a life of reconciliation with God. It is a life of holiness and sanctification: for the Spirit of the Lord is a cleansing, purifying, and renewing Spirit. It is a very lightsome and comfortable life: and no wonder; for His name is The Comforter. His consolations are so strong, that they furnish the soul with ground of joy in the blackest and cloudiest day Habakkuk , It is a life of liberty; for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
It is a hid life Colossians It is a heavenly life; they are made to live above the world: "Our conversation is in heaven. It is a royal life: for they are "made kings and priests unto God" Revelation It is an eternal life John The first use shall be of trial and examination. I answer, If ye follow the Spirit, then you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; but, on the contrary, you will study to "crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. Ye know leading imports spontaneity and willingness.
And while our faith is not a magic wand that makes everything ok, it is a promise that God will come and fill us with life. In other words, if we can walk in the Spirit as the Apostle Paul encourages to do, a quality of life will emerge.
The prophecy of Ezekiel comes at a time when the people of God had been dragged off into captivity by the Babylonians, their temple had been robbed and they were under the judgement of God. Although their scriptures told stories of a God who acts powerfully to bring life, they were without hope. We rationalise the promises of the bible down to our own experiences.
Breathing new life, restoring hope, making us his people. The picture Ezekiel paints starts as one of the people of God without hope. In a valley where a battle may have taken place, the people have been reduced to a great pile of dried out bones. It suggests the people have been in this situation for a long time… defeated, deteriorating, decaying.
And it was there story — defeated by Babylon, taken into captivity, their temple robbed. Life has got hard. Hope is in short supply. You know it never ceases to amaze me just how hard life can be for some people. Just this week I was having lunch with the homeless and broken of Manly at the Salvation Army.
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Many of them wonderful people, but if our brokenness is sometimes internalised, many of these people were wearing it visibly. God asks Ezekiel — can these bone live? How can these bones live, they have long been dead. A work colleague many years ago when I was working in London took me out to lunch. She shared with me some tragic things that had happened in her life that had overshadowed everything else.
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She was one of these dry bones… maybe surviving but never thriving in life. Can these bones live? When hope is gone what from a human point of view can we do? God asks Ezekiel to do something quite incredible. First he asks him to speak! To Prophesy, in other words speak the Word of God to these dry bones! Then you will know that I am God. They are not yet alive.
Hope is coming back but it aint quite there yet. Prophesy to the breath says God. Come from the four winds. O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live. And the breathe enters the bodies, they came to life and stood up on their feet — a vast army. It has echoes of the creation story where breathe enters into the first man Adam and he comes alive. It is something God alone can do! God is the source of life. It is his creative breath that brings us alive! And we hear the echoes of this passage after Jesus has been resurrected from the dead!
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