Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Come From The Four Winds

I've been revisiting Ezekiel 36 and 37 lately, and trying to piece together all the ways they tie in together.
In Ezekiel 36, we read that God is going to remove our hearts of stone and put a soft heart of flesh in us, and put His Spirit within us to deliver us from uncleanness and to make us feel shame for our sins and, therefore, turn away from it. For His sake, He would act (this could easily be taken to mean He would set us apart for His glory).
In chapter 37, much of it is about the valley of dry bones, where God asks Ezekiel if the bones could live again. Ezekiel doesn't say yes or no, but rather the only true answer for any question, "O Lord God, You know."* (v. 3)
He's told to prophesy to the bones, and it describes the flesh forming over them. But there is one thing lacking still.

"But there was no breath in them." (There was no הָר֑וּחַ in them.) (v. 8)
There are several translations for the Hebrew word for breath (הָר֑וּחַ).
One is breath. Another is wind. Another, get this, is spirit.
The bodies lived, but they had no spirit.

Because of this, God commands Ezekiel to prophesy again, this time to the "breath."
"'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." (v. 9-10)

"And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 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." (v. 13-14)
This entire setting is, from the prior chapter through this one, a prophecy about Christ and the Holy Spirit; through Christ we have resurrection, and then He puts His Spirit in us to live.

What i find perhaps most interesting is this: "Come from the four winds, O breath..."
He's told to tell the Spirit to come from every direction and breathe on the slain, that they may live.
He's telling the Spirit to come from everywhere. The Spirit would be spread across the earth, in every nation; in Jew and Gentile, if you will, and those will make up the resurrected and living people of God, His children. The army of Israel would not consist of a specific race, but people of all ethnicities who have His Spirit within them.

* This should be our mantra in life. As it says in the New Testament (James 4), "...yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"
It's not for us to even say that our next breath will come, only God knows, and only by His will can air enter our lungs.

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