From the file box:
Prosperity = The Fulfillment of the Promises of God…
In 1993, my husband had a surgical procedure done to clean a blocked artery and save his heart and life. Seeking comfort, he ran across the verse: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Followed by: 37:14: And shall put my spirit in you and ye shall live….
Now these verses were taken out of context, but when you are facing something that might mean your life, you don’t care how the Lord gives you peace of mind. The whole Biblical text is written to the Israelites who needed restoration as a nation. This is the text where the “Dry Bones Parable” is found. A promise is given by God to raise up the floundering nation and give it new life. Even though it is presumed to be as dead as dry bones, God promises to “resurrect” it, and give it full life once again.
Ezekiel was a colorful writer, but God used him to give strong mental pictures of how God was able to do whatever was necessary to keep his promises to His people. In the depths of these verses, so much more can be gleaned. The resurrection promise itself was a “type picture” of Christ. Jesus’ disciples would come to understand that the real resurrection for the nation of Israel was through their Messiah. Israel became, not just a great nation, but the ancestral parent of a greater work - the birth of a church, to which any who believed might be born. Through them God gave life to a family that would affect the world. But this great work would come only when His followers thought all hope was lost. It would only occur if this long awaited Messiah died. Never did they dream he would be resurrected. Yet the picture was there, just as Jesus said, in the very verses they studied and believed.
Jesus did not remain dead long enough for his bones to dry. But the prophecy was about an Israel, which came to a place where they feared all hope was lost. They lost their ability to believe that God was able to give continued life to their failing nation. Mmmmm. Parallels all around this one, but I am not going there. (Yes the people of our nation would do well to seek the truths in these chapters.) God does wish to give continued life to the nations he has blessed, even to the point of bringing them back from dry bones. But my actual point is - these verses give us a visualization of the lengths to which God is willing to go, to give the people he loves the promise of life. Out of that life was the promise of a savoir, and if Israel failed, would there be no savoir?
In a discussion with my son, recently, I asked him to use the litmus test of basic Gospel truths, against which to test the doctrines of various religious faiths as he studied. We talked about why one of the most important of these is the fact that God wants us to choose life in every circumstance. Life and the regeneration of life are extremely important to God. But when you are facing a circumstance or illness, which threatens life, death, not life, can be the reality. I have often thought that if I were facing cancer, I would not have the desire to fight for life. Mainly, the reason is that death is the better than life, because of Christ. I see the after-life as my resurrection to the best form of life. But, I am not seeking death. Yet God prefers that I choose to love life.
For my husband - where he was, wanting to live, and who was facing a life-threatening event - any promise from God that He cared about life, which could give an assurance that life was really important to Him, was timely. My husband loves life. He loves living every day. He has a God attitude about life. He holds each day precious. Even before he was threatened by his blocked artery, he treasured life.
So when God gave him these verses, they were not out of context for him. The “ye shall live,” of Ezekiel 37:14 was as if it were written to him and for him, because God was comforting his heart and giving peace to his mind. God was saying to my beloved, I care about YOUR LIFE. It was personal.
It is a wonderful thing that our Bible is so multifaceted. My mind is opened to the vastness of God’s ability to use His Word to bless and inspire us in so many ways. Every story, and parable bears a witness to the truths He wants us to focus on and in fact, to bank our hopes in the vaults of their promises.
So Jimmy claimed those verses, and went to surgery with a renewed confidence that God would use this scary time in his life to give him not just renewed physical life, but renewed spiritual hope for a greater, longer, fuller life.
I have a flip-calendar of scriptures, given to me by my daughter, from Heartland Samplers, Inc., which is one of a Series called “Bless Your Heart.” It is appropriate for me because I often use the southern phrase “Bless your heart.” And not as a derogatory remark, but in the sense of this calendar, that the Lord can bless your heart in a spiritual way through the Word and Prayer. Anyway, on February 4 of this particular year’s calendar, it says:
“God can mend a broken heart, but we have to give him all the pieces.”
Followed by the verse:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.”
On this page I scribbled: the year, a note about the surgery, and the verses my husband had claimed, so I could remember the day the Lord resurrected us to new life, when we could share in the second half of Ezekiel 37:14 which says:
“then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
Thank you, Lord for promises to claim. For scripture, that calms our minds and spirits when the days of comfort are needed. Give comfort today to those who need it and seek a word from you. Help us all to appreciate that You are the champion of life in all aspects of life. You have made life a precious thing. Help us to live like we cherish it too. In Jesus’ precious name, AMEN.