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  • David Bent

The Breath of Life (22-08-20)

A Bible Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-10

I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal man, can these bones live?" I replied, "Sovereign Lord, only you can answer that!" He said, "Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the Lord. Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord." So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones came together. While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies. God said to me, "Mortal man, prophesy to the wind. Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life." So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army.

A Thought

For many years, when our children were little, we kept hens, and during that time we hatched a couple of broods of chickens. Delightful! For some time now, I have had a desire to again keep a few hens. First off, though, we needed to get a hen house and run for them. This was not difficult with the internet, and the house and run arrived flat-packed in boxes. A bit like Ezekiel’s valley or dry bones, I had a patio littered with wooded sections, metal poles and chicken wire, all needing to be assembled. ‘Mortal man, can these bones live?’

With the help of a friend and with regular reference to the instruction booklets, ‘the bones came together’, held in place with hinges and screws, rather than muscles and sinews, and were covered with chicken wire and a wooden roof. I had a hen house and a chicken run, but there was no life within them. A trip to a local supplier of ‘point-of-lay’ hens rectified that, and I now have four contented hens just beginning to lay some wonderful eggs.

Our lives can sometimes seem like a valley of dry bones, a reminder of a life that is now gone, maybe, or of mistakes and problems in the past that are robbing us of life today. We might look back at what might have been and wonder ‘can these bones live?’

The answer with God is always ‘Yes’. Ezekiel’s dry bones came together when they ‘listened to the word of the Lord’ and my flat packs came together with reference to the instruction booklets, and the help of a friend. So too, we have God’s word to guide us, and Jesus, who comes as a friend, with love and forgiveness, to help us rebuild and restore our lives.

But rebuilding the structure is not enough. Just as I needed hens in my hen house and Ezekiel’s bodies needed the breath of life within them, so we need the Spirit of God in our lives in order to fully experience the life that God plans for us.

Are there things in the past, or in your life today that seek to deaden your life or rob you of hope for the future? Bring them now to our God in prayer.

A Prayer

Heavenly Father, restorer of life and hope, I bring to you now the pains and losses of the past and the dashed hopes for the future. Help me to rebuild my life through faith in you. Fill me with your Spirit of Life so that ‘these bones can live again’.

Amen.

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