The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10 ESV)
This week I’m preparing a sermon on the Ministry of the Word and in the providence of God am reading this chapter! Here, Ezekiel is told to prophesy, that is to speak the Word of God, to the dry bones and then again to the breath and in so doing these once dead became alive. The context speaks to the return of Israel from exile and perhaps even more to the life that will come through the new covenant but to see it coming through the a man speaking God’s Word is significant. God could, of course, do His life giving work on His own. But instead He chooses to do it through the “foolishness of preaching” having stored such treasure as the gospel is us who are mere “jars of clay.” May we not lose heart in preaching the gospel and may we not lose heart in attending to it.