called out at a concert
Over the weekend I went to a Lauren Daigle concert with a group of friends and it was one of those nights when I just wanted to go home. I wanted to go, but I didn't want to go. I was exhausted and hadn't had time to really do my hair (priorities, people) and as I told my friend, Sara, through a delusional string of words,
"I just want to sit pizza and eat tv."
Her mind immediately interpreted that as the American, Texan, Southern Baptist equivalent of the Jewish custom of sitting shiva. We laughed about that for a while and then forced ourselves to our seats.
Thank you, Jesus, I didn't choose to just sit pizza.
Concerts aren't everyone's thing, but I love them. They're some of the few times I'll willingly put myself in the middle of a crowd. I love to see the person behind the music, hear their thoughts or their heart for the words that they sing, and more often than not, I hear at least one song in a different way than I've ever heard it before.
Have you ever experienced that? You're swaying along and all of the sudden, there it is. Has that really always been in there? How have I never heard this before? How could I have missed this?
As Lauren sang "Come Alive" on Friday night, that's what happened for me.
But we know that You are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come that we may not yet see
So with the faith You've given us
We'll step into the valley unafraid
As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
As she sang, one word kept getting louder and louder in my heart:
I got home and quickly flipped to Ezekiel 37 to see if what I was thinking and hearing was true--if it was really from the Lord.
"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 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.'
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." (ESV, emphasis mine)
Ezekiel was of the Jewish people, exiled to Babylon from Judah. God used Ezekiel to boldly speak truth and warn of judgment to a nation who had wandered from God and to promise hope and restoration to a hopeless people far from their promised home. Truth and love, in equal measures.
The Jewish people were far from where they'd ever expected to be. They were broken and lifeless and desperately thirsty. On however personal or national of a scale you want to look at it, we can relate, can we not?
Here enters Ezekiel. God lets him see the people as God sees the people. And here's the part that struck me:
God commissioned Ezekiel to call them back to life.
Maybe that's so obvious to you. Maybe you're thinking, "Duh, Hannah. What a dummy. How have you not seen that?" But, y'all. The hand of the Lord was on him. The voice of God spoke to him.
How much easier would it have been for the hand of the Lord to lift up the dry bones Himself.
How much quicker would it have been for the voice of God to speak straight to the thirsty, lifeless, limbs?
Bringing Ezekiel into the situation added a step and risked being misinterpreted, but it included him in the restorative work of God.
I think this is for us. If you have trusted God with your life and recognized His sovereignty and love and holiness over you, then yes, I think this is for you. Because yeah, these verses show God's power to restore brokenness and bring life to hopeless places, but they're also about God's commissioning of us as His ambassadors in the world to call out that life and restoration in the places we see dry and hopeless lives.
Ezekiel prophesied as He was commanded. Do we?
We can pray for God to move. We can ask for Him to breathe life. We can ask for Him to restore.
But He also asks for us to be obedient, and I've been so convicted these last few days of the times when I've wanted to see Him do a great work, but I've kept my mouth shut. I've prayed and I've even really trusted, but I haven't spoken the truth that He's whispered in my heart.
I haven't prophesied as I've been commanded.
And that's heavy. That's humbling. That's something I have to lay before God and be grateful He gives grace to cover, but I don't have to be convicted by that again. Neither do you.
We can call out to dry bones.
We can speak life over dead hearts.
We can humbly say, "I prophesied as He commanded me."
We can be included in the restorative, powerful work of God.
What truth has God been calling you to speak? How has He commissioned you to be part of His work for the Kingdom?