There are no hopeless cases
…‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone…’
I love plants and in my house there are quite a few. Taking care of them is both a pleasure and a frustration. Sometimes they flourish and grow quickly; other times they wither and die! I have successfully killed two bay trees, or perhaps I should say I thought I had killed two bay trees. The first one I overwatered; the second I didn’t water enough. Feeling guilty and not quite up to throwing my second bay tree away – after all it cost quite a bit of money – I stuck it outside the back door. It rained often, and every once in a while I would check on the dead bay tree and think I really must get rid of it. Then one memorable day, when I looked, there was a green shoot spearing up from the soil. I did a double take. Surely not?! But there it was, a stem with two small leaves. I had been convinced that the plant was beyond all hope.
We read about the nation of Israel’s captivity in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel, a watchman for Israel, predicted the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, telling the people that it was God’s judgement for their idolatry. He challenged them to turn from their wicked ways, but they didn’t listen. Even in captivity Ezekiel fearlessly preached the word of God reminding the exiled Jews of the timeless truth of God’s love and power. The people felt they were beyond all hope; beyond even God’s ability to restore them.
But for our heavenly father, nothing is impossible. There are no hopeless cases. He keeps his promises and is faithful in his love for his people. Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones would at first seem to paint a hopeless picture: so many dry, brittle bones. These people had been dead a long time, how could they be brought back to life? But with a mighty rattling noise the bones came back together, and muscles and flesh covered the complete skeletons. (Ezekiel 37:7-8). Then God said to Ezekiel: “Speak a prophetic message to the winds…and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’ ” (v.9). They all came back to life and stood before Ezekiel, so many that he called them a great army.
This vision illustrated new life and a nation restored, both physically and spiritually. Perhaps comparing a plant ‘coming back to life’ to the true miracle of God resurrecting people seems a bit silly, but when we see God working in our daily lives through small things, it strengthens our faith and hope for things yet unseen
One day the dead will be resurrected and the whole world restored. What an amazing day that will be!
Heavenly Father, you promised new life to your people in exile through the vision you gave Ezekiel. You breathed new life into a valley full of dry bones. Breathe new life into us, so that we might live passionately for you, as a people full of hope for the future. In Jesus name, Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is a Minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Co-Pastor for Scotland and Ireland
Gilmerton New Church
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