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Bible Pathways - Sept. 11, 2006

Ezekiel 37

In Today's Scripture Reading:

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

After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, 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 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 unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, Thou knowest. Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them: O ye dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye 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 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 ye 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 only when we confess and repent of our sins and invite Jesus to be Lord of our lives. For by grace are ye 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 =b> give, settle, establish; 38:19 shaking =b> earthquake; 39:6 carelessly =b> securely, without care; 39:14 sever out =b> select; passengers =b> passersby.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Winston A. Grant who died in the Towers · Staff: Karen Hawkins Government Officials: Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI), Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX), and Rep. Tim Murphy (PA) Country: Lebanon (4 million) in the Middle East Major languages: Arabic and French Limited religious freedom 67% Muslim; 19% Roman Catholic; 10% Eastern Orthodox; 1% Protestant Prayer Suggestion: Ask for the Lord's blessings and peace upon His children (Numbers 6:24-27).

Optional Reading: Revelation 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 103:11

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