“I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.
The year was 587 BCE. It was the low point of Israel’s history. Their nation had become like a desert floor covered with dead skeletons in Death Valley. The Babylonians were the strongest nation around. Israel’s army was nothing in comparison, and they got wiped out. All the young Israelite warriors were killed. Their bodies sprawled out on the desert sands as far as the eye could see. Their bodies were left to lie there in the sun to rot. The capital city lay in ruins, and the temple was destroyed. The people were in total poverty. Everybody was hungry or on the edge of starvation. The Israelites who were alive were taken as prisoners, chains around their necks, and dragged back to Babylonia. The Jewish nation had become like the dead skeletons strewn across the desert floor in Death Valley, because their spirit was like the skeletons of their warriors.
The Jews lamented, “God can’t or won’t help us. There is no God. God is punishing us for our sins.” One person was left who trusted God, his name was Ezekiel. The Lord took Ezekiel out into death valley and showed him a vision of the dried bones of the Israelites. Then the Lord asked Ezekiel: “Shall all these dry bones live again?” And Ezekiel replied in faith, “Only you know, Lord if those bones shall live again.” The Lord answered Ezekiel with the promise that the dried bones would live again. Israel would recover and rise again as a people. The Spirit of God would be the key to their recovery.
When the Spirit of God comes into our spirit, it affects our whole being. When God’s Spirit gets into our spirit things begin to change. The dryness of our being comes alive. We begin to be and act in the ways God created us to be.
As we experience one of the worst pandemics of our lifetime, and as people are deathly ill from this disease, we walk around in fear that it could strike us too. We can almost see the valley of dry bones filling around us. Could it be that we need to hear the Word of the Lord for today “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.” When God puts His Spirit in us, we are the passive recipients of God’s Gift of Grace, and it moves us to share God’s love with all who are hurting, ill, and dying or in sorrow. It strengthens us and the dry bones of our faith come alive. May the Spirit of God fill our spirits and change every part of our being so that God can build us into the people He desires us to become. Open your heart to respond to the Spirit of God and live.
- What are your greatest fears about the times we are living in?
- Will you pray for God’s Spirit to fill you so God’s Spirit effect all of you so you can help others?
- Can you imagine today what God’s Spirit might lead you to do to bring peace, love, and joy to others in their time of need?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.