summer solstice!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ezekiel 37 blog the second

Clearly for older students than Ezekiel 37 blog the first!

Ezekiel 37:1-14 | from The Message

1 GOD grabbed me. GOD's Spirit took me up and sat me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. 2 He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun.
3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "Master GOD, only you know that."
4 He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: "Dry bones, listen to the Message of GOD!"
5 GOD, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life. 6 I'll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize I am GOD!"
7 I prophesied just as I'd been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. 8 I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.
9 He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, "GOD, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!'"
10 So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge multitude.
11 Then God said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they're saying: 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there's nothing left of us.'
12 "Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, 'GOD, the Master, says: I'll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I'll take you straight to the land of Israel. 13 When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you'll realize I am GOD. 14 I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize I am GOD. I've said it and I'll do it. GOD's Decree.'"

Discussion Ideas
  1. How had these people died? How long had their bones been in this valley? Why hadn't they been buried?
  2. God's Spirit grabbed the prophet Ezekiel and carried him to the valley of dry bones. It looks as if this entire scenario was God's idea, but what was Ezekiel's role in the story?
  3. Ezekiel, the prophet and God have a conversation. How about us?
  4. God commands the human - "Son of man" - Ezekiel to speak a word of life—actually to speak a Word from God and the Word of God! How does the human gathering of the church speak God's Word? Or, does the church speak the Word of God?
  5. What is a prophet's job or work? Jesus as our Prophet, King and Priest? What is our prophetic, royal priesthood as individual Christians?
  6. God gave Ezekiel instructions for "raising the dead." In obedience, Ezekiel followed God's instructions and spoke the Word of Life with amazing, humanly incredible results! How about us? Obedience? Speaking a word of life to each other, to the community and to the world? Raising the dead?
  7. Verses 5, 6, 14: "Breathe life [Spirit] into you," is covenantal language! God of the covenants? What other biblical covenants can we remember?
  8. Verse 9: Come from the four winds…the number *four* typically refers to the universal reach of God's Holy Spirit. How extensive is universal?
  9. Verses 11-14 place this passage in historical context, citing the house [people] of Israel and the physical land of Israel. However, this text is renowned for applying to almost everyone everywhere in a multitude of circumstances. How about us?
  10. New political, spiritual, ethnic and historical human life is something humans cannot do, only God can perform! The people of God will come out of their deaths as God's Spirit restores them and returns them to a living-space and dwelling-place where they can thrive. However, throughout this text we see the role of Ezekiel, "the human one," in helping God's promise come true. How about us?
  11. God digging up graves and bringing for new people, new life: resurrection! We're getting closer to Easter now; how does this text begin preparing us for the surprise of Easter?
  12. Other thoughts or ideas about this text?

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