Recent fossil discoveries have left paleontologists stroking beards - a triceratops in the States and a unidirectional shoal of fish in SW France, near Cognac, hit headline news this week.
I must confess I'm a wanabee fossil freak - a trip to Beachy Head, Sussex, of late, left me drooling over fair England's Jurassic Coast. I'd love to see Wyoming and a valley of dry bones.
In Ezekiel 37, God's prophet has a vision. A valley of dessicated skeletal residue, the result of the Covenant Curse, lies littering the landscape - note vital signs are absent.
God's ancient people ossified - immorality, iniquity and idolatry are key causes. Corpses fell like flies, dismembered by the sword, and then birds picked-off flesh: this is sin's just and sad desert.
"Can these bones live?" is not an unreasonable question to pose: not by nous or might, the prophet is no fool, but God revives the moribund, and mortified, by Spirit and by Word.
Watch this in slow-motion! Yahweh bids His prophet speak - command the bones to live: the ribs and radii rattle, cruciate ligaments bind tibias to femurs, the spinal cord swells up and out - nerve roots, axons, and dendrons now link body to the brain; tendons run from origins to form the rotator cuff, and with the shoulders both now restabilized and reduced, the fleshy, strong, red, bellies of biceps brachii reinsert; the radial artery runs its course and overshoots the wrist, so when the skin rezips, the prophet is able to take the pulse.
"Hold on a minute!" he gasps - there's still no vital sign - "Your Word, LORD, has great power, but revival requires more! Please aerate His lungs as you did to the First Man!"
The dialogue gets tense! The prophet gets a knowing look from God! "Ezekiel, you do something else! Are you not my servant? Order the four winds to breeze in from compass points! By My Spirit let life breathe into bones!"
Well, without a doubt, Buzi's boy is a prophet. Just right now, however, he is in no place to dispute. He obeys what God demands, and the miracle is complete - shake, rattle, roll, with the only drum in ears, as the nations stands to its feet!
Transformation Valley - the Dead Bones now Alive - Skeletor resurrected, revived, restored, and most importantly of all - according to the unbreakable Covenant Oath, Judah's Exiles will return. Contrary to expection, gloom-mongers are undone. With no lengthy wait, Israel reassembles as a State - a meeting is arranged at God's brand-new, better, House in a reallotted, far-more blessed, Palestinian paradise.
And so in these bare bones we see the 'Bare Bones of the Gospel' laid bare - or at least the effective method to bring life out of death! Nothing else would work. All might comes through Christ, the sole Mediator of the Elect, by grace, through faith. Jesus bled and rose. God's Son has spent our curse. Only God's power saves and gives life to ossuaries!
How slow we are, and sometimes hard of heart, still, after all this time - about 2,600 years - to learn the lesson of faith! Satan tries all manner of gimmicks and bright ideas to thwart the spread of truth and block our King's advance. We must stop plying his tactics and re-trust God for His trade. The Gospel made effectual by the working of the Spirit - the Means of Grace are mighty to do what man cannot.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, Sabbath School Teachers and Bible Class Catechizers, Professors and Pastors, Elders and Members...
In God put your trust! Pray for Gospel work! Lean on Word and Spirit! Preach till dead men walk! And may you see life, both new and numerous, as you trust His means of grace!