Monday, September 17, 2012

A Day of Dry Bones

"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry" (Ezekiel 37:1-2).

The Lord offered this vision to the prophet concerning "the whole house of Israel" (v. 11). But here's the thing: The "whole house of Israel" ... the people of God ... a very religious people ... did not realize that they were "very dry" bones. They had no clue that - spiritually speaking - they were dead ... and long enough that everything good in them had rotted away.

The book of Ezekiel brings judgment against the Lord's people, but it is also a book of prophetic evidence. God wanted Israel to "know that I am the Lord." The phrase is use 77 times in Scripture, and 63 of them are in Ezekiel. God is making every effort - via mercy or justice - to open the blind eyes of His people ... to raise the dead to life.

But again I note, the people did not realize they were dead! One of the chief sins of the people was the profaning of the Lord's sabbath day (Ezekiel 20). They were worshiping ... and sinning all the while! They were sincere, but sincerely wrong. God does not accept false offerings or prayers or worship.

Let this be a clear warning to the contemporary church. What is being accomplished by the accumulation of popular teachers, and the acceptance of stylish methodologies, and the constant desire to be associated with the world? How is God pleased when we draw closer to the world, rather than closer to heaven?

Like the Israelites of old, a strong majority among what is called "the church" do not realize that they are nothing but "very dry" bones. I'm sure some will argue with me, offering a picture of their physical growth and popularity as proof of God's blessings. Yet these are the very same people - offering their sincere teachings and good works (Matthew 7:22) - to whom Christ will say on the Day of Judgment, "I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:23).

As the Lord said to the stomach-turning congregation of Laodicea, so He says to the church today, "You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see" (Revelation 3:17-18).

The Lord is still offering evidence. Although man is making every effort to dumb it down, trim it down or cut it out, God's word is still available. "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day" (John 12:48).

I pray that "the people of God" will open their eyes and ears and hear the word of Christ, "... all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds" (Revelation 2:23).

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