Friday, March 21, 2003
Trivia time. What GE-sponsored TV show did Ronald Reagan host before he became President? You're probably way too young to know the answer, right? OK. Wait a minute, wait a minute ... that older fellow in the back. What did you say? Yes, a program called "Death Valley Days." That's right! It was all about that hot and hostile stretch of California known as Death Valley - and the stories of what people faced in that place that all too often lived up to its name.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life in Your Death Valley."
Talk about Death Valley days! There is a story in the Bible that took one of God's prophets into what was literally Death Valley. But it's more than the story of just an ancient prophet. It mirrors a miracle that many of God's people have seen over the years, and it's one you may need to believe Him for right now.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ezekiel where God brings Ezekiel into a valley that is full of "a great many bones ... that were very dry." God asks him, "Can these bones live?" Then God gives his prophet a message to deliver to this mountain of dry bones. "I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 37:1-6)
Ezekiel says, "As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone." Then he reports that tendons and flesh appeared on those animated skeletons and then "they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army." God then revealed to Ezekiel that these bones actually represented His people, for whom He had this message: "My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you out from them ... I will put my Spirit in you and you will live."
So there's Death Valley - something or someone that looks like it will never come to life. Like a marriage for which there seems no hope, or one of your children, or even your church; maybe a ministry you've been involved with. It could be a valued relationship that seems dead for good or someone who seems spiritually dead and beyond reaching. Or even a dream you felt was from God. I don't know what's lying there dead in your Death Valley. But I do know this - God can revive what seems like it's gone forever! He did it in Ezekiel's valley of dry bones. He did it on that first Easter morning. He's done it in countless hopeless situations over the centuries, and He can do it for you.
Your mission? Rekindle your defiant prayer to the God who resurrects what everyone else calls "dead." In Luke 18:1, Jesus said, we "should always pray and not give up." Then get a group of people who will join with you in fervent prayer that defies the dying, and keep storming the Throne of Grace for a life-giving miracle. And make yourself available to God to do whatever He directs - to play whatever part He wants you to play in helping bring life to "death valley," even if it means humbling yourself, making sacrifices, forgetting how you're going to look - whatever it takes.
The God who made a living army out of a pile of dry bones has the power to bring life where there's been so much dryness, so much dying. It's way too soon to give up.