Devotions on Ezekiel 37:1-14–Valley of Dry Bones
December 4-10, 2017
Monday, December 4, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“The hand of the Lord came upon me” (Ezekiel 37:1a).
The Spirit came upon Ezekiel and the other prophets and they had, what we would call, a spiritual experience. They would see visions, dream dreams, do some rather outrageous acts, or be inspired to proclaim messages from the Lord. All the time, they sensed that God was with them, moving through them and using them. There are times the same thing happens to us.
At times we feel that we are at the right place, at the right time—that God is with us and is using us. Jeb sensed that when he volunteered to work at a homeless shelter. Using his business connections, Jeb was able to line up jobs for three men and enable them to get off the streets. On the other hand, Pastor Sarah felt that her sermon bombed; there was a disconnect between her and the Holy Spirit. Pastor Sarah berated herself until one of her parishioners approached her and thanked her for her words. “You spoke to my heart,” Pastor Sarah was told.
Sometimes we feel the Holy Spirit uses us and sometimes we don’t. Either way, we are able to celebrate that the Holy Spirit does move through us, uses our words and actions and touches the lives of others.
Lord, thank you that you are able to use our words and actions to touch the lives of others with your love and grace. Amen.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“Set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones” (Ezekiel 37:1b).
The valley that the prophet envisions was probably a former battlefield. Death had been on such a grand scale that proper burials had not been possible. The result was valleys filled with old, dry bones. Such a landscape reeked of death and hopelessness. There are times that we encounter such situations in our daily lives.
Juanita worked as a para legal in a law office where the office politics were lethal. Self-centeredness and greed, with their accompanying actions of self-promotion and back stabbing, was rampant. Simple acts of human kindness were rare. Juanita felt as if the life was sucked out of her when she went to work. Carl faced a world of bullying every day he attended high school. Though his school had a no bullying policy, students were fearful of reporting bullying because of retaliation. Thus, occasions of bullying were hard to prove. Carl viewed his school as a place of death.
We learn, as Ezekiel did, that life can come out of the deadest of places. There is hope even if we live and work in valleys of old, dry bones.
Lord, be with us as we walk through valleys filled with dry bones and where there is “the shadow of death.” Amen.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live’” (Ezekiel 37:3)?
Lamar and Jaylene were at the end of their rope. There sixteen year-old daughter was in a self-destruct mode. A series of poor choices had led her into drug addiction, bad relationships and crime. She had dropped out of school and had little to do with her parents. Lamar and Jaylene loved her, though, and tried to help. As their daughter’s life spiraled downward, they wondered if there was any hope and any possibility of new life. Juan and Linda wondered if there was any hope for their marriage. Focusing on their two careers, they had drifted apart. Their love had grown cold and they wondered if there was still a spark that would restart the fire.
There are times in our lives when we come face to face with death. It is beyond our ability, in these situations, to breathe new life into them. The focus of our hope changes from our frantic efforts to the One who is more powerful. Like Ezekiel, when we are asked the question, “Can these bones live?” Our reply is limited to, “Lord, only you know.” our answer carries hope with it, however, because we know that our God is the God of the resurrection.
Lord, please bring new life into the lives of those who are facing loss and death. Amen.
Thursday, December 7, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“‘Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live’” (Ezekiel 37:5).
The paramedics arrived and pulled three year-old Jonathan Lewis from his parent’s back yard pool. Jonathan was not breathing and he had no pulse. Immediately the paramedics began CPR. After several minutes, their efforts proved effective. Jonathan’s heart started to beat and he began to breath. New life replaced death.
Our God is a God of life. God has brought life into our relationship with God where there was once only death. Again and again, God moves in our lives to bring life out of the losses and deaths that we experience. At the end of our physical lives, we face death with our hope in a God that brings new life. Each day is a celebration of the new life that has been given us.
Lord, enable us today to celebrate life and not fear death. Amen.
Friday, December 8, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude” (Ezekiel 37:10).
God chooses to give Ezekiel a very important role in bringing new life to the old, dry bones in the valley. Ezekiel is told to speak to the bones and, as Ezekiel speaks, the holy breath enters them. The Lord could have acted with Ezekiel’s assistance, but God chose not to do so. For some reason, God chases to partner with humankind in order to accomplish God’s will.
Like Ezekiel, God has chosen to use us to bring new life into the world. God uses our words to share God’s love and grace and breathe a breath of life into a world filled with death. God uses our actions to bring new life to situations. The Holy Spirit flows through us and together God’s will is accomplished.
Lord, we are humbled that you have chosen to use us to accomplish your will. We are yours Lord. Do with us what you want. Amen.
Saturday, December 9, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“I am going to open your graves and bring you up from your graves” (Ezekiel 37:12).
The Meyer’s family gathered in faith and hope at the graveside of the family’s matriarch. They listened as the pastor said, “O God of grace and glory, we remember before you today our sister. We thank you for giving her to us to know and to love, as a companion in our pilgrimage on earth. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see that death has been swallowed up in the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may live in confidence and hope until, by your call, we are gathered to our heavenly home in the company of all your saints; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Pastoral Care, Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, 2008).
As followers of Jesus we live courageously in the hope of the resurrection even as we face our physical death and the deaths we endure in our daily lives.
Your are the resurrection and the life, Lord. Move within us that this truth shapes our lives and the way that we serve you. Amen.
Sunday, December 10, 2017–Valley of Dry Bones
“Then you shall know that I the Lord, have spoken and will act says the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:14).
As followers of Jesus, our hope is not founded on wishful thinking. The core of our hope is not the “wish” that the Lord will let us win the lottery, keep us from contracting the flu or from being audited by the IRS. Our hope is based on God’s promises. The Lord has promised to love us—and nothing can change God’s decision. God has promised to be with us through the highs and lows of life. When we die, we are assured of the resurrection—that death is not the end, nor is it able to separate us from God.
We observe the fulfillment of God’s promises in our daily lives. When we do, we realize that truly God is the Lord who keeps God’s promises and moves powerfully in our lives.
Lord, we praise you because you are powerfully present in our lives and you keep your promises. Amen.