I woke up and grabbed a cup of coffee before heading over to the office table to read my Bible. It fell open to Ezekiel Chapter 36. I had just been studying this last Friday with my bible study group. Starting at verse 22: Adonai, the Lord, says to the House of Israel that He will sanctify His great name. He will take Israel from among the nations and gather them out of all the countries and bring them into their own land. Then He shall sprinkle clean water upon them, and cleanse them. And He will give them a new heart and put a new Spirit within them and take away the stony heart from them, and give them a heart of flesh. The Spirit He puts within them will cause them to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments, and they will dwell in the land that He gave to their father and they will be His people and He will be their God.
That’s a lot of good promises.
A few more sips of coffee and I was over to Chapter 37, the “famous” writing about the Valley of Dry Bones. The hand of the Lord was upon Ezekiel and carried him out in the Spirit of the Lord and set Ezekiel down in the midst of the valley full of dry bones, very, very dry bones. The Lord asks Ezekiel if these bones can live. Put yourself in Ezekiel’s place: what would you answer? Ezekiel plays it safe. “Lord, You know.” I personally have no idea, but You know, Lord. I might have said the same thing.
Sip. More coffee. The Lord said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones, and say, “Dry bones, listen! Obey the word of the Lord. The Lord says, ‘I will cause breath to enter you and you will live, I shall lay sinews on you and bring flesh upon you and cover you with skin and put a Spirit in you, and you will live, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Ezekiel speaks, breath came to them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceeding great army.
The Lord explains then, these bones represent the House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried and our hope is lost. We are cut off. ‘ (When things look bad, we get discouraged.)
The Lord says, “You will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves.”
Verse 15 and following, Ezekiel is instructed to take a stick, write “For Judah” on it, and another stick, “For Joseph”. (This was done during the time that Judah was separate from Israel.) The sticks were joined together as one, a picture of Judah and Israel becoming merged again.
Chapter 38, Gog and Magog. I skipped ahead to the middle of verse 4 were it says “ I will put a hook in your jaw”. ( An old pastor of mine used to pray that for unsaved love ones, that God would put a hook in their jaw and lead them.) Continuing on, it talks about being prepared for battle: uniforms, bucklers, shields, swords, helmets. I thought this was all a good thing, for the Lord to lead and for the army to be prepared for battle. And so it is for those who willingly follow the Lord. But then I backed up and read the beginning: The Lord said to prophesy AGAINST Gog and Magog. They were being taken into a battle that they were not going to win.
This made me think: There are times when the same event can be seen as a blessing or a curse, depending on where you are. Rain can be a blessing when needed, but be a curse when it causes flooding. And so it is with biblical warfare; we are to be spiritually dressed with faith, hope, preparation of the gospel, breastplate of righteousness, etc.
Sip. Whoops, time for a refill. I hope to get into Chapter 40 tomorrow.