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Wake Up Macon!

February 2007

                                   

 

Breathing Life Into the City Of Macon 

 

 

By James Wright

 

 

We often find ourselves looking at some of the events that occur in this world with bewilderment. "'Why is this happening?" we ask.   "Isn't there a better way to do this?"  At other times we look at the conditions of individual people, even entire cities and ask "Can't more be done?" These questions are legitimate and they deserve solid answers. The problem is that man has become so skilled at complicating matters that creating problems is often easier than coming up with solutions.

 

The good news is that despite how bewildered man may be, God is never at a loss when it comes to resolving even the most frustrating problems. In this article, we'll return to a favorite passage of scripture for many.  Letís look at Ezekiel, Chapter 37. My goal is to share with you the fresh perspective that God shared with me so we can see how the truths contained in this chapter can be applied to some of the problems currently facing our society.

 

In the first 2 verses we read that the Spirit of the Lord set Ezekiel in the middle of a valley that was full of bones, dry bones. This was a very serious matter because bones need a certain level of moistness in order to survive and thrive. These bones were dry. But as we read on we see that the problem was even worse than we imagined.

 

Verse 6 sums up the rest of the problem. Ezekiel was told in verse 4 to prophesy to the bones. Then, in verse 6, God told him what would happen as a result of the prophecy. He would put sinews on the bones, make flesh grow back on the bones, cover the bones with skin and put breath in them that they may come alive. The promise is encouraging but it also tells us what the remaining problems were. If God was going to replace sinews it was because the bones had no sinews. This is a problem because in order for bones to perform as they're designed to perform, not only do they need moistness, but they also need to be connected to other parts of the body, especially muscles. By reading that they had no sinews we realize that the bones were disconnected from each other and from the other parts of the body that helped make the bones effective. To put it another way, the bones were divided. They needed to be joined to the muscles and to the other parts of the body.

 

Furthermore, the bones were not covered with flesh on them or skin over them. It's critical that bones have the inner flesh, bone marrow, so that the bones can continually receive their nutrients and so that they can produce the blood cells that contribute to the well being of the rest of the body. It's also important that the bones have the skin that helps hold the bones together and serves as their protective covering.

Additionally, after the bones had received that which would connect every thing together (the sinews), and that which would provide nutrients and supply blood (the flesh) as well as that which would help hold everything together and keep it protected (the skin), all it then needed was that which would cause it to live, the breath of life. God promised that after the prophet prophesied the specific words God instructed him to speak, God would put everything in order.

 

Having taken that overview of the problem and the solution, let's now look more closely at only one of the specific problems mentioned. We'll see how that problem mentioned thousands of years ago in God's conversation with Ezekiel parallels a very real problem that we face today. We'll also examine God's solution to the problem and see how that solution can be applied to the situations facing us now. We'll focus on the problem of division.

 

When I discussed the need for the sinews I pointed out that the bones needed to have the sinews in order to be connected to other parts of the body so that they and the rest of the body could perform properly. We can see how the parts of the body need to be connected in order to do any thing, whether sitting, walking, talking, eating or any number of functions that the body performs. Even those bodily functions that we don't see require that there be some connectedness and harmony. Even though we don't see the heart beat unless we're using special equipment, the heart has to be connected to blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart in order for the entire body to be empowered to do what it's designed to do. Taking this principle of connectedness and harmony a little further, we can look at the example of a family. Whether that family consists only of either husband and wife or two parents and six children, there needs to be connectedness and harmony. In the case of the family that has parents and children, the connection and harmony need to start with the parents since they're the leaders and their harmony or lack of it sets the tone for everyone else in the household. If the parents are together by common desire for the purpose and goal of the household, the chances are great that they'll be able to successfully persuade the rest of the household to buy into the plan that the parents develop in helping the family reach their goals. However, if the parents are divided, with one  trying to push for one set of ideals while the other is going in a different direction, the chances are great that the household will fall apart and any good that occurs will happen in spite of the parents rather than because a well laid plan was followed.

 

Now that we've looked at connections, having started with the individual body and then progressed to the household, let's move on to the scenario that I really want us to focus on. We're still dealing with the importance of being connected but now we'll apply the principle to society. In my introduction, I mentioned that people often look at some of the terrible abuses and neglects that so many people experience or we look at the prevalence of discord and ask "Why is this happening?" In large part, it's happening because the dry bones are divided. That is, the leaders of society are not together. Often the leaders fail to share a passion for the people and when they do share a passion for the people, they don't share a plan for the people. Where there is no shared plan there can be no shared activity. In other words, the leaders need to work together in harmony just as the body or the family needs to work together in harmony.

 

In Ezekiel 37, the prophecy went forth as God commanded and the first to respond had to be the leaders. They came together and discussed the problem. Then they discussed a plan in resolving the problem. Finally, before implementing any plan, they took a very critical step. They brought the people (the rest of the bones) together and discussed the problems and potential solutions with them, giving the people opportunity to add their input. This was very important because just as we are able to operate in harmony when the parts of our outer man (the body) are working together, we still need the components of the inner man working together as well. Our minds, attitudes, passions and wills all need to be in harmony with each other or the individual will still be a train wreck waiting to happen. Likewise, with the small family and the large society, we need to realize that we are connected or disconnected largely by our ideas, attitudes, passions and wills. To the extent that the inner man of the leaders and the people are one, to that same extent we are able to agree on solutions.

 

After meaningful discussions had been held, it was time for action. Sinews and flesh were joined together, representing, among other things, the provision of financial resources needed to cover the needs of the people (the bones). Finances can provide the energy needed to help the people move forward as they tackle the problems they face. However, finances alone are not enough. Just as water needs to have a specific place to be channeled in order to do the most good, so finances need specific purposes to be channeled to in order to do the most good. Therefore, effective programs need to be developed that will breathe life into and empower the society to stand by, breathing opportunities into the lives of the people.

 

As we study Ezekiel 3 another interesting point that we should not overlook is the fact that after God commanded the prophet to prophesy, three things happened. The prophet obediently prophesied, God brought the bones together, and the bones came together without resisting what God was doing. Instead, they submitted to Him and cooperated with what God was doing. Why? Because they were ready to truly live again.

 

Many in our society are ready to live again. They are tired of being downtrodden, oppressed, having a desire to live and do better but not having a vision of how to come to life. Many are frustrated over having a sense of destiny, but not having the support needed to pursue that destiny. People are ready to receive that breath of life, those golden opportunities needed to empower them to stand and advance in life. God's awesome promise to them is found in the 14th verse of Ezekiel 37. "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land." (NAS) God will breathe His Spirit into the people again and will breathe life into the various programs and other avenues of assistance that will help people begin to realize the dreams God has given them and successfully pursue the destinies He has placed before them. Each individual and the parts of the society will begin to advance according to God's plan.

Finally, one of the problems that I decided to leave for last will be resolved. Verse 6 says that after God has done all to revive the people, they "will know that I am the Lord." (NAS) Verse 14 adds "... you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it," declares the Lord." (NAS) At one point while in the valley, the bones did not know the Lord nor the fulfillment of His word. In the end, they will know Him and the fulfillment of His word.

 

Without a doubt, God will certainly bring to pass all that He has spoken in this chapter as it pertains to the nation Israel. But He wants us to understand that much of what happens with Israel is also representative and illustrative of what happens in other instances, especially the church. He wants us to realize that He has made promises to us and just as His promises remain true to the Israelites, they remain true to us as well. The key will be the harmonious working together of the leaders and the rest of the people with each other and with God.

 

It is time for Macon to realize that there is strength in unity. Therefore, the community must come together and connect just as the "dry bones" were connected. God will breathe new life into the City of Macon, a city in enormous need of a resurrection. Carpet Express of Macon Inc. stands at the forefront in redefining and redirecting the City of Macon into the 21st Century.

 

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