This morning I read one of the most bizarre passages in scripture I’ve ever come across. It was Ezekiel 37:1-14. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.
I can’t say I’ve ever read it before. But this new Bible study I am teaching called The Power of a Woman’s Words instructed me to read it today. And let me tell you, the modern day application alluded me for awhile.
This cute little anecdote is about a prophet – Ezekiel – whom God tells to go take a stroll in a valley of dead people. Ezekiel is shuffling through a valley “full of bones” (Ezekiel 37:1) – unburied, fully decayed, dried by the hot sun bones. The only other thing we know about these bones is that they are of those who were slain (Ezekiel 37:9). Perhaps they were murdered in a battle. Either way, the Lord led Ezekiel back and forth, making sure Zeke got a good look at them.
Then God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3)
That seems pretty obvious to me. No. No, they cannot. They lived in the past. They are clearly done living.
But that isn’t how Ezekiel answers the Lord. Apparently, Ezekiel had a better awareness than I do of the power and track record of God to do crazy stuff. So he wisely replies, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3).
Then the Lord told Ezekiel to speak to the bones. God told him exactly what to say to bring the bones back to life, and Ezekiel said it! Can you imagine people on the hillside, looking down into the valley, watching this nut job pacing back and forth, ankle-deep in BONES, talking to said bones, proclaiming to them that the Lord will make them living, breathing things again?! Well, just add Ezekiel to the long list of heroes of the faith who appeared to be certifiably insane to those around them. Also, don’t be surprised when those around you add you to that list when you start really living out your faith.
Back to the story.
Verse 6 tells us why in the world God decided to perform this bizarre resurrection. Speaking to the bones, God says He will bring them back to life so that when He does, “Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:6).
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that is the motivation behind everything God does. He may have additional motivations, but I think this is always a factor. He wants us to know that He is the Lord. And He wants us to know what that means.
If I’m right, that means every time you find yourself asking, “Why did God allow this to happen to me?” or “Why is God doing things this way?” or “What is God trying to teach me?” the answer will always be, in part, because God wants you to know that He is the Lord.
He also probably wants to communicate something more specific about what that means. Maybe He wants you to recognize His sovereignty – He is in control. Maybe He wants you to realize His trustworthiness – He is working things out for the good of those who love Him. Maybe He wants you to learn submission – His way is better than any alternate way we can come up with.
More on Ezekiel next time. For now, what struggles are you in where you are questioning God? How is He using those specific struggles to communicate to you that He is the Lord? Soak in that truth today. Whatever He is doing, He is doing it so you will know that He is the Lord.