Ezekiel 37:1-38:23, James 1:19-2:17, Psalms 117:1-2, Proverbs 28:1
Today is the 18th of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as we officially close down another one of the weeks that we have together in this year. And we’ve been reading from the Common English Bible this week, which is what we’ll do today and move our way into Ezekiel and then the book of James. But first, Ezekiel 37 verse 1 through 38 verse 23.
Alright. Let’s talk about Ezekiel chapter 37 for a quick minute before we talk about James because I just need a second to get over the spanking I just got from James, like, you know what I mean? So, Ezekiel 37, The Valley of the Dry Bones has always been a riveting picture to me - this vast field of bones, bleached by the sun of long dead people probably fell on a battlefield or fell as they tried to escape. Of course, this is happening in a vision that Ezekiel has been swept into. And so, these are bones, like, they’re long dead, it’s long over, and they’ve just been left, and God asks Ezekiel, what you think, can these bones live again? I mean, how would you answer a question like that, other than how Ezekiel did, which is, only You Lord would possibly know the answer. And God tells him to speak out, to call the bones together, to prophesy out to them. And he does. And as he is saying those words the bones begin to come back together and they become like full skeletons and then tendons and muscle and skin, like, cover them. And, so, now you have this vast horde of people who have been killed and were long dead all back together again, but they’re not alive. And then God invites Ezekiel to call to the four winds the breath of life. And that’s what he does. And life returns to these dead, long dead, bones, a great army. The imagery is so riveting because it’s calling back to life something that was long dead. I remember being in Washington DC, which is our nation’s capital, one year many, many years ago. I was with a friend and we went to Arlington Cemetery, which is our national military cemetery. And, you know, most states, probably all states, have them too. But this is a national Cemetery and I remember we were walking around and we found this tomb of the unknown soldier and found a bench and pulled out the Scriptures and spoke this out, not expecting mass resurrections, but just considering the church and the good news and how only the breath of life that comes from the mouth of God can bring back to life that which is dead. And several weeks after that, I was out on a walk talking to God about this when I felt the strong impression - I want you to build a wind farm. This was several years after the Daily Audio Bible started. It certainly wasn’t a vision like Ezekiel or anything like that. It’s just this impression. I saw people all over the world calling the breath of life from the four winds through prayer for one another, speaking life over one another. And I feel like every day when we get to the end of our reading for the day and the words of prayer and encouragement come in from all over the world and we hear them, that’s what we’re doing, and that’s what we are going to continue to do and it has become one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, the way that this community behaves toward one another, and the freedoms that we have extended toward one another, the grace that we have offered one another - to speak, out loud, the deepest darkest things in our lives without fear of retribution. To me, that’s calling the breath of life and it’s been a beautiful thing since we began to do it all those years ago. And if you’ve ever gotten our coffee or tea, you’ll notice that it’s called Wind Farm. Now you know why. And if you’ve ever seen the Daily Audio Bible logo and wondered, what is this, what is this, an airplane propeller, what is this? No, it’s four blades that make a windmill and as the four blades come together in the middle, it creates a cross. And now you know why. And Jill and I have a son, a five-year-old little boy, whose name is Ezekiel. And now you know why. And we would do well to remember this story in Ezekiel, chapter 37, because every day we have a choice to speak out death and darkness into this world and over people, even those that we love. We have no shortage of pointing out our failings to each other, but how often are we calling the breath of life over each other? And what would happen to the world if we all did?
Maybe we should listen to the words found in the book of James, ‘know this my dear brothers and sisters, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. Therefore, with humility, set aside all moral filth in the growth of wickedness and welcome the word planted deep inside you, the very word that is able to save you’. You see, those are instructions, which means we have to participate, which means we have to turn our hearts in this direction, which is what James is saying. ‘You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves’. Then James goes on to say later in our reading, ‘claiming to have faith can’t save anyone. Faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity’, according to James. And of course, at length, we went through the book of Hebrews and learned that faith was the very thing that we need to navigate a new thing that God is doing in the world, a new covenant. And, so, may we build a wind farm together. Not only as the community of the Daily Audio Bible, but in everything that we do. May the Holy Spirit’s energy flow through us as it blows throughout the earth, bringing back to life that which has long been dead.
Father, what can we say? But Holy Spirit come and fall upon us. Restore to life what is dead inside of us, bring us back and help us to call the breath of life from all corners of this earth, understanding that it makes a profound difference in Your kingdom on this earth. Open our eyes. Help us to lift our eyes to the horizon and get our equilibrium back and get our balance back. We’ve been looking down so long, trudging along, moving forward, step-by-step, feeling like there’s no hope when there is. Give us the ears to hear the need around us. Help us to call life into it. Help us to not be hearers only but, by hearing, moved to action and may that action be the work of Your kingdom in this world. Come Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.