The Resurrection Work of God in the World

Speak to the bones – speak to the breath

Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones – chapter 37
Ezekiel was commanded to speak to the bones and call them together – they were to return to their created design and order. And they did as they were told. This mirrors the creation story which tells us of Creator God forming the human from the humus, but it was not yet a living being because the breath of life was not in it.
Then Ezekiel was commanded to speak again – this time to the wind/breath/spirit (ruach) of life. The breath blew in from the four winds (representing the wholeness of creation?) and entered the inanimate bodies (the meaning of the Latin anima is the same as the Hebrew ruach – Latin also has a separate term animus, meaning mind). At this point, the bodies became living beings, again mirroring the creation story.
God then gave the interpretation of the vision (much the same as Jesus giving the interpretation of the parables in the Gospels). The vision represents the future of Israel, on and for which God will act to redeem and restore and renew/rebirth. God will bring Israel back together, and into God’s people God will place the spirit/wind/breath (Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28). And the fortunes of Israel were indeed restored – they were returned to their homeland and experienced a time of revival, though incomplete. They continue to struggle to this day.
And this is mirrored in the Acts of the Apostles, particularly chapters 1-2. We see:

  1. A prophecy that the people will receive the breath/ wind/ spirit of power from on high (in Greek – pneuma)
  2. A reorganizing principle in that the angels ‘speak to the bones’ to come back together
  3. The disciples return to the upper room in Jerusalem where Peter calls for a council to restore a 12th Apostle as a replacement for Judas
  4. There in the upper room they are all together
  5. There they ‘speak to the spirit’ by ‘all with one mind continually devoting themselves to prayer’.

Finally, the process moves to its final phase, wherein all these steps happen repeatedly in each community, among all peoples, extending out like concentric circles from “Jerusalem, to all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth…”

 

The promise that was made, perhaps first in Proverbs 1:23

Repent at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
 
And how this prefigures what we hear from Peter in Acts 3:19-21: Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.
  • Repent, i.e. turn back to God, who is source of your life
  • Experience refreshing, renewal and restoration of Spirit
  • Experience the Word / Logos, which is Jesus

In what ways is your life in need of this process today?

How do you need to be reordered or reorganized? In your thinking, behaving, relating? Is it your relationships, your habits, your finances, your work, your physical health? Where is there just a valley of dry bones in and around you? Speak that which you desire, that which God desires for you, into the situation. Then take the actions necessary.

Where do you need a renewal of spirit? Where is there organization, but no life, no breath, no animation? Speak to the Spirit and pray, “Come Holy Spirit, come.”

Where do you need the Word to be real in you?

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away….No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. (Deuteronomy 30:11,14)

 * cf (see also) Romans 10:8; Hebrews 4:12

 
Light shining into darkness – the Word is already there.

Hope undergirding the despairing – the Word is already there.

Love overcoming hate and indifference – the Word is already there.

 

This is the resurrection work of God in the world.

Thanks be to God!
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