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Bible Pathways 09/11/2002

September 11

Read Ezekiel 37 -- 39

In Today's Reading:

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

Verses for Today:

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. . . . Son of Man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, Thou knowest. Again He said to me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say . . . hear the Word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live (37:1,3-5).

After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, most of the Israelites who remained alive were scattered throughout Babylonia and forced to live among exiles from many heathen nations. Since their Temple and the capital were destroyed, all hope for the restoration of a national Jewish homeland was abandoned.

It was at this time that Ezekiel was given a vision of Israel's future.

Humanly speaking, as a nation, Israel was literally and spiritually dead and without hope of restoration. They were like the dry bones that had been there for some time, but they were not buried. As Ezekiel continued to prophesy, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone (Ezekiel 37:7). The dry, scattered bones became complete skeletons, and then bodies with physical life. Ezekiel proclaimed the Word of the Lord God as he was commanded, and the breath (Spirit) came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly 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 represented the future people of Israel restored to vibrant life.

Ezekiel was commanded to proclaim the Good News: [You] shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves . . . and shall put My Spirit in you, and [you] shall live, and I shall place you in your own land (37:13-14). This was an assurance from God that the Israelites would once again return to the land of Promise and become a sovereign nation. After more than 2500 years since Ezekiel's time, the Israelites do exist as a nation within the Promised Land. However, the best is yet to come when God fulfills His promises to Abraham and David concerning Israel's Messiah King, Jesus Christ, Who will rule the world.

All mankind is in the valley of death -- dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The valley of dry bones is also a description of the moral and spiritual condition of our sinful human nature apart from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Eternal life is made possible when we believe the Word of God, repent of our sins, receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord of our lives. Jesus said: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who made possible the resurrection from the grave (Ezekiel 37:120. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; alsoJohn 11:25; Revelation 1:18).

Word Studies:

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

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI) and Rep. Sonny Callahan (AL) · Pray for your church · Country: Tanzania (31 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: Swahili and English · Churches are expected to help implement Marxist policy · 33% Muslim; 19% Roman Catholic; 19% animist; 15% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Make everything you do a matter of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Optional Reading: Revelation 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:9

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