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Bible Pathways 09/11/04

September 11

Read Ezekiel 37 - 39

In Today's Reading:

Valley of the dry bones; prophecy against Gog; vision of a restored Israel

After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C., most of the Israelites who survived were scattered throughout Babylonia among exiles from many heathen nations. Since the Temple and City of God were destroyed, they abandoned hope for the restoration of their homeland.

It was at this time of Israel's national hopelessness that Ezekiel was given a new vision and recorded: The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones (Ezekiel 37:1). The bones were dry and bleached, having been there for some time. And He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, You know. Again He said to me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say to them: O you dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord God to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live (37:3-5).

As a nation, Israel was literally and spiritually dead and without hope of restoration. However, like the dry bones, it was not buried. Ezekiel continued to prophesy and there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his (its) bone (37:7). Ezekiel proclaimed the Word of God, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army (37:10). Although the Israelites were saying: Our hope is lost: we are cut off from the land of promise (37:11), this army assured Israel of future restoration.

Ezekiel then was commanded to proclaim the good news: I am the LORD . . And shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land (37:13-14). After more than 2500 years, the Israelites do exist as a nation within the promised land, and God will soon fulfill His promise to King David. Israel's Messiah King, Jesus Christ, will rule the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4).

Dry bones also describe our sinful human nature, apart from the transforming, life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is made possible when we confess and repent of our sins and invite Jesus to be Lord of our lives For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Christ Revealed:

As the One who made possible the resurrection from the grave (Ezekiel 37:12). For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; also John 11:25; Revelation 1:18).

Word Studies:

37:26 place = settle, establish; 38:19 shaking = earthquake; 39:6 carelessly = securely, safely; 39:14 sever out = select; passengers = those passing by.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Officials: Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI) and Rep. Sonny Callahan (AL) · Country: Samoa (190,000) in the South Pacific · Major languages: Samoan and English · Religious freedom · 68% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 9% cults; 2% Baha'i 

Prayer Suggestion: Remember that prayer changes things (James 5:16-18).

Optional Reading: Revelation 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 12:19

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