My family, friends, and I went to the Yellow Daisy festival this weekend at Stone Mountain Park, and then did a sunset hike up the mountain afterwords. Along the way, we found some of the yellow daisies for which the festival was named.
This one in particular captured my attention and I took a picture of it—because there was just one flourishing among the dead.
It reminded me of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”
Looking back over the passage, there were three things that Ezekiel had to prophesy. The first, in verses 4-6, put these bones back together and created flesh on them. The breath of the Lord was also prophesied but Ezekiel didn’t see it happen right away after he spoke what God had told him to. First, he had spoken to the bones. The second prophetic word was spoken to the wind (verse 9). First, there was creation. Second, there was Spirit-infused breath breathed into these beings. Third, purpose was spoken over them (verses 11-12)—that they would rise again. Their hope was restored. God told them that they would return to their land of Israel, and that that would be a sign to them that God is the Lord. He (God) promised them that 1) He would put His Spirit in them, 2) They would live again, and 3) They would return home to their own land. These three things happening would be proof that the Lord has spoken and done what He said He would do.
As I looked at that flower that afternoon, it reminded me of Ezekiel looking out over that valley of bones, looking for life. Looking for God to come through and resurrect. Looking for Holy Spirit to re-infuse dead places with the wind of His Spirit. And it just made me think of all the places in my life that God has promised to come through. All the places that, to my eyes, look dead right now. But I was reminded of His faithfulness and was reminded to not only look for life, but prophesy life. To not only speak to what’s dead in my life and see it resurrect to the purposes of God, but to speak to Holy Spirit to move in my life. And to know that for it all, there is a purpose and a hope.
So whatever is in your life that is dead right now, that you know God has spoken to you that it will live, keeping looking for life. Keeping speaking and prophesying life. It took persistence and faith for Ezekiel to see those bones come to life, but come to life they did.
On the flip side of the same coin, don’t look for the living in places God has already declared dead and done. When Jesus resurrected from the grave, the women went to his grave on Sunday morning to look for his body, and the angels that met them there asked, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?”
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
8 And they remembered His words.
Remember what God has spoken to you, and don’t keep going back to dead places.
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
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