By Pastor David M. Choi
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “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. -Ezekiel 37:7-10
This passage sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? It harkens back to Genesis 2:7, where out of the dust God knits together the bodily frame of Adam. Yet, it’s worth noting that that isn’t where Adam’s life comes from. His body is set, but Adam himself remains lifeless. For it isn’t until God actually breathes into Adam the divine breath of life that he becomes a real living creature. Of course, this doesn’t invalidate the significance of the human body, since God is the One who made the body after all. Ezekiel’s point is that apart from God the body is quite literally useless or without life.
Indeed, God not only creates the body, but God upholds the body, that is, He keeps the body intact. As John Calvin notes, this is something that God does for all sinful beings, regardless of whether one is Christian or not. However, it’s important to understand that being upheld by God does not necessarily mean one has within oneself the life of God. In other words, it is a mistake to assume that one’s functioning body means one is properly alive. True, your body may be healthy right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re alive. True, you may be free of the coronavirus or other bodily injuries, but that doesn’t mean you’re any less dead.
We must come alive, and the only way to do that is by remembering where life really comes from. We can’t simply look to how we’re doing on the outside for indications of how we’re really doing on the inside. For that, we need Jesus. We need Him to show us what our spiritual symptoms are, and how we have gone astray. We need God to breathe new life within us, who is none other than the Spirit of Christ himself.
- How have you mistaken your bodily health for your spiritual health, and how have you been prioritizing one over the other?
- Have you been noticing any symptoms within your own spiritual life lately? What are they? [Perhaps it’s idleness, anger, greed, pride, irritability, or laziness.] How is the Lord calling you to repent this morning?