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We continue to do everyday things because we know the potential for a good and beautiful outcome.  

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Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!  Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Life for a farmer is full of unknowns. The soil they till and turn is just a single component of the complex life of a plant.  So many other conditions come into play.  The first verse of our scripture today speaks to the primary requirement: water.  In the Negeb, a bone-dry desert, water is the one essential with transformative power.  When these parched grounds are laced with water, amazing growth and color return.  As the sower heads out to plant, knowing the complexity of growth and possibility of disaster, and yet he plants, exercising hope in the future celebration of a fruitful harvest.

Our life is full of unknowns, too. Yet, we continue to do everyday things because we know the potential for a good and beautiful outcome.  When we worship, we bring all the good and bad along with us, hoping that God will get us through.  With our families, we continue to love them without fail, hoping their lives will be fruitful for the Kingdom.  With our work, we hope to influence those around us in their own lives, providing some reflection of the hope we experience in Christ.

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God places Ezekiel in a valley of dry bones.  The dry bones represent Israel without hope, cut off from their life source.  God even describes them as being in a grave.  But, the end of the passage is full of hope for the people of Israel, with a guarantee that only God could give.  What a wonderful passage for us today!  While this Ezekiel passage seems long, read it all and then listen to “Beautiful Things” by Gungor in light of your reading.

 

1 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.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”


So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.


11 
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

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By Rich Obrecht

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