Ezekiel 37:9: To the Breath

Hear the wind moan
In the bright diamond sky
These mountains are waiting
Brown-green and dry
I’m too old for the term
But I’ll use it anyway
I’ll be a child of the wind
Till the end of my days
— Bruce Cockburn (“Child of the Wind” from Nothing But A Burning Light, 1991)

Do you remember the blind man from Mark 8? People brought the blind man to Jesus to have the miracle-worker touch him. Jesus grabbed the man by the hand and led him out of town. What happened next must have raised a few eyebrows: Jesus spit in the man’s eyes.

“Do you see like you should,” Jesus asked?

“People look like trees walking around,” the blind man replied.

Only then did Jesus put his hands on the man and heal him fully.

The story always me. Why didn’t Jesus heal him the first time? Why did he spit at the man? What was he trying to teach?

This miracle story has a lot in common with the valley of dry bones. In both cases, God was about to do something miraculous. In both cases, it looked like the job would only be half done. In both cases, God cut through the suspense and finished the work.

. . .

When Ezekiel spoke God’s words to the bones, they all rattled together and formed complete bodies, covered with sinew and flesh. But that was only half the miracle. All Ezekiel had at this point was a valley filled with dead (albeit whole) bodies. They had no life in them.

The suspense that would later rack the blind man whose vision was half healed would also have tormented Ezekiel. Can you imagine his thoughts?

  • Did I do something wrong?
  • Did I not have enough faith?
  • Is God not powerful enough to finish what he started?

. . .

Rûah is an important word in Biblical Hebrew. It has three commonly translated meanings:

  1. Breath
  2. Wind
  3. Spirit

It was God’s rûah that blew across the water of pre-creation chaos (Genesis 1:2). More importantly to our text, it was God’s rûah that—or should I say who—entered the nostrils of Adam and animated his body (Genesis 2:7). Now in the valley of what used to be dry bones, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the rûah to finish the job. Resurrection ensues.

. . .

Here’s the best part. The same rûah that blew across the waters of creation, into the nostrils of Adam, and into the corpses in the valley of dry bones has blown through my life. God’s wind has become the living, animating force of my existence.

I’ll be a child of the wind until the end of my days.

. . .

Breath of God, blow through my life as I try, however imperfectly, to extend the reach of your kingdom—on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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