Day 162.

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 Godto 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, andthe breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10)
In contrast to the preacher’s frustration, He also gets to see the miraculous power of God at work as he speaks God’s Word to the dead. The dry bones paint a picture of our spiritual condition before God calls us to life through the gospel. What is so mind-boggling is that God doesn’t just do this for Ezekiel to see, He does it through Ezekiel’s prophesying, just as He does it today through the preacher’s preaching. Of course, Ezekiel is prophesying what God instructs him to prophesy. He does not speak any words. As he speaks the Word of God to the dead, they come to life. This is the job of the preacher as well. He has a specific message to preach, which is the gospel. Paul summarizes it well in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Rather than cause this to happen directly, God chooses to put this treasure (this Word) in jars of clay (weak and breakable vessels – aka, the preacher). Amazing.
We should understand the preacher two ways. One, the preacher who stands before the people of God and preaches the Word is the one that comes to mind. And indeed, this is a big part of God’s ordinary means of grace – that is, the ordinary means by which God brings the spiritually dead to life and brings them to spiritual maturity. The regular hearing of the Word is spiritual food. Two, the preacher is any of God’s people who speak the message. The whole Church is called to have the Word on their tongue, to be ready to have a reason for the hope that is in them.
Lord, help us to remember the gospel is not our word but yours, and as such it has great power. May we not be shy with it!
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