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. (Ezekiel 37:1-3 ESV)
In dealing with denial, we are usually faced with a vital question. It relates to Dry Bones and the Work of the Holy Spirit.
What is the Vital Question? Son of man, can these bones live?” And then, if there is a vital question; there is also a vital answer: O Lord, you know. Without this humble admission of where the only faultless knowing resides, as it applies directly to each of us, we will deny we are helpless on our own and continue to rely on our own experience and understanding of things.
- Under stress we will likely mistake some fretful need to “do something” for inspiration because we mistak-enly believe that we are corrupted by our behavior, rather than that our behavior is corrupted by our unbelief. The truth is, we will only fully surrender to the change God has in mind for us when we accept that God has already sovereignly and graciously done something in us, and that what He has authored in us He will finish.
When we see, however, that we have already experienced a wonderful, powerful, life-changing revelation from God that had nothing to do with our effort, we will never again despair for our own recovery. And we know we have received such a revelation or we wouldn’t even be interested in true recovery, which is to say: our redemption into the Kingdom of God.
- Peter’s confident observation expressed in I Peter 2:10: Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people… is not religious theory. It is founded in the work of the Holy Spirit in His own experience.
- The apostle John records the Lord’s answer to the question of dry bones in John 5:25: Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of God, and those who hear will live. Who will hear his voice and live? It is the dead who hear!
- What can the dead do, on their own, to hear? What did you initially do to hear? (Consider Matthew 16:15-17) ‘…who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘ You are the Christ, the son of the living God.‘ And Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this is not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven.’
- When we grasp the truth that it is the Lord who has opened our grave and called our very-dead, very-dry bones out of it, we know that He meant for us to be the work of his hands and not our own.
The Holy Spirit is always at work revealing what human nature is like apart from His grace. He does not do so to condemn us, but to convict us into abandoning all of our fretful, self-conscious, useless effort in favor of sur-rendering our living bodies to His redemptive work.
- When we can honestly answer the vital question, as did Ezekiel… and Peter… and every saint, with “You know, Lord,” we will never despair for ourselves again.
- We will surely grieve over sin, but we will not despair.
- It is right here upon this surrender of our understanding in favor of trust in Him alone that God then allows us to be His chosen Oracle: (Close with: Ezekiel 37:4-6.)