January 6, 2011: Ezekiel 37:1-14 Devotion Sharing

Click here to read Kelly’s Thoughts on Ezekiel 37.

Submitted by Michelle Sun, Gracepoint Berkeley

Ezekiel 37:1-10

Whenever I read this chapter I think about the fact that there has been many “dry bone becoming flesh” experience in my life.  I have seen many who did not have any spiritual hunger come to life after much prayer, after years of ministering to them. What do the dry bones represent?  A dried up heart, a human heart that does not respond to truth and has been in that state for a long time.  A human heart seem so impossible to move or to change at times, especially if that person is really set on wanting something.  There is no life and no sign of life in that person and there has been no response to the truth for a long time.  In this kind of situation, God is very clear that he is able to even make these dry bones come to life.

There is really nothing that the dry bones contribute to.  It’s God and his prophet who preaches to the dry bones that do all the work.  God says  “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”   But God does ask Ezekiel to do one thing which is to preach to the valley of the dry bones.  He has to preach in such a way so that he believes in God’s word and knows that what God says will come true.  As we are in the process of planting many churches, what we are experiencing as a church is this very vision of seeing a valley of dry bones come to life slowly.  The process is slow, but the promise is true and the outcome is certain.  I think about Riverside Campus where there is literally no sign of life and where a group of our staff are trying to preach to the campus.  Even though they don’t seem to quite understand, there is some stirring..

God delights to do these impossible things.   It’s not like some things are so much more impossible than others to God, as he is not like us.  He is able to do all things, even change the hearts that have been in the grave for so long.  As long as God is involved and he is in the picture, there is the work of recreating life that takes place. Our church plant team is like Ezekiel preaching their heart out because God has told them to.  What an amazing promise God gives us as he say “ I will do it”..  I will do this and I will do that.  You watch and you just obey and do what I told you to do..  It’s really exciting to think about the day when the valley of dry bones in Riverside will produce an army of Christians, when the valley of dry bones in SD and Minnesota will produce an army of Christians.  There is no other work that is more exciting and fulfilling than doing this life-creating work that God has given us to do.

Submitted by Phil Choi, Gracepoint Hsinchu

Ezekial 37: 1-14

How must have Ezekiel felt as he saw the state of Israel in the vision of the valley of dry bones? He was probably full of despair and pain as he saw the valley of dry bones. Maybe he had a lot of regrets of what could have been better.

What does God command Ezekiel to do in v. 4, after he digests the vision and its implications? God tells Ezekial to prophesy to the dry bones and say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!”

How does Ezekiel’s vision—God’s ability to raise a living army from a valley of dry bones—give me hope in God’s ability to handle difficult, or even hopeless, situations today? The idea that God can raise a living army from a valley of dry bones gives me hope for what God can do in Taiwan. I think the picture of a valley of dry bones is an apt picture of people in this country. They go day to day working tirelessly, studying relentlessly, worshipping idols in the hope of receiving blessings or a better lot in life, but you can clearly tell that there is a dryness in their hearts. There is a sense of aimlessness and hopelessness; people doing a lot but not quite sure why they are doing it. And as I read this question of God’s ability to raise “a living army” from a valley of dry bones, the picture of spiritual revival came to mind for me. It’s something I’ve been praying more for Taiwan ever since the Thanksgiving retreat and Pastor Manny’s session on college revivals. Throughout history, it was through a few people who decided to be passionate, committed, and prayerful that God ignited a spiritual fire. And it often happened at the most unlikely times. Likewise in Taiwan, it’s an uphill battle. But this passage encourages me to keep having hope that spiritual hunger will take over the people of this country, not for idols or false worship, but a hunger to know the One and True Living God! And if God can raise up an army from a valley of dry bones, then surely He can accomplish this. But what’s my responsibility? It’s to be faithful in loving people, and being committed to pray for this to happen.

What are some personal situations that I can invite God’s word to address?  What are some promises in the Bible that might provide some hope in this situation? This semester alone, we’ve experienced 4 salvation decisions in Taiwan, and 3 of those came within the past 1 month! It’s such an incredible overflow of blessings, and I’m so thankful to God for what He’s done in the hearts of these students. But now the hard work begins of having to disciple them. They are, frankly, the future of this church. We as “outsiders” can only do so much. But they have a firsthand understanding of the culture and know how to impact people, so they can do so much more. But discipleship means a lot of ugly sins, character issues, and past pains have to be dealt with. Personally, this is where some fear settles in because I don’t want any of them to backslide or leave when it gets hard. I’ve seen people, including my friends, walk away because it simply got too difficult to deal with their personal sins. And as I think about the future of this country, I pray that our students will not turn away from their battlefield. One verse that provides hope for me is Isaiah 37: “For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” From this verse, I’m reminded that it’s the zeal of the Lord that will accomplish this, just as it was God’s zeal that brought them to salvation in the first place. And it gives me hope to see a remnant come out of Hsinchu, and out of NTHU and NCTU a band of survivors. I’m reminded that I need to be even more prayerful for our students so that they can grow and mature as Christians. And I should not be worried but instead trust in God’s power in their lives.

Ezekiel 37:12-13

God’s plan for mankind includes resurrection.  What can I conclude about God’s intention for me as I am reminded about God’s promise for our resurrection? God’s intention for me is to raise me up on the last day. This is His promise of eternal life. For me, this promise of eternal life gives me the motivation to give my all for God in this life. If my eternity is set, then I can give myself to fully serving God while I am alive. I don’t have to grasp for money, power, influence, material goods, etc. because ultimately those things are to make my life now better. But that’s not why I’m here. The promise of resurrection and eternal life means that my true life begins later. But now, while I’m alive, I have this short window of opportunity to serve God. I have this one chance to make a difference for God. This is something I’m really thankful for because I struggled a lot with making myself something in this world. But there came a time when God’s love took me over, and His promise of eternal life destroyed all the fears I had of what I was going to do in this world. And it’s verses like this that remind me that God’s purpose for me is to give Him my best while I can and not to worry about my destiny because my life is in His good hands.

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