Broken Spirits and Dry Bones

We have a friend in the Bible named Isaiah. God was looking for someone to deliver some hard words to God’s people. Isaiah had an incredible encounter with God involving an angel and some coal (Isaiah 6). And after this experience, he told the Lord “I’ll go, send me.” So God took Isaiah at his word and began to give him messages to deliver to God’s children. One message was that God was going to destroy some of Israel because of their disobedience. Poor guy, sometimes a direct line to God is costly. However, Isaiah also got to deliver the most amazing message to the people: he prophesied of the arrival of the Rescuer, the Messiah—Jesus!

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel—God is with us.” As we move on to chapter 9, we see that God was using the present destruction as a means of preparing the way for Christ. He says in Isaiah 8:22, “Wherever they look there will be dark despair.” Then, in 9:2, “The people who walk in great darkness will see a great light.” A wise friend once told me that you can’t know light until you have seen the darkness. This resonated with me, and I think it gives insight into this passage. The destruction and darkness that occurs here prepared the hearts of the people for the great Light that was to come.

The Message version of Isaiah 9:2 says, “For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light, sunbursts of light.” And in verse 3, “They will shout with joy like warriors.”

I am personally coming out of a season of darkness. I have been stuck in this land of deep shadows for quite some time now. However, I didn’t realize how dark it was until I saw the light.

About 3 weeks ago, I processed what I think was the remainder of a heavy load of grief over the life and death of my father. But I am so grateful to have worked through that darkness; unresolved grief breaks your spirit and “a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

The same wise friend I mentioned earlier pointed out to me that I seemed stuck. As I pondered and prayed over this, the Holy Spirit was so gracious to me and helped me recognize the depth of my grief. This grief that I had been carrying for many years had “dried up my bones.” God began to heal my heart, and I’ve noticed those dry places are changing. There is more laughter, more joy, more room in my heart to love. Grief had taken a sectional sofa and sat right down in the center of my spirit. Now that it’s gone, there is more room for everyone else.

There’s a wild story in the Bible that God brought to mind as I was thinking through this post. Take a minute and read Ezekiel 37:1-14. God leads his man, Ezekiel, to a valley of dry bones and brings life to the bones! These bones represent the people of Israel. They are struggling, and God is loving them. They have told the Lord, “We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone.” Then they sing a song to prove they aren’t making this up.

I can so relate to these Israelites. I have walked in the shadows and felt my old dry bones ache. I have wondered why I was living half a life. After asking God to reveal what was keeping me stuck, God shined light on what the enemy was keeping so dark.

God has sent Jesus to rescue us from our despair, our deep shadows, and bring life to those dry places.

What parts of your life are covered in shadow? What parts are dry? Ache? Take a minute and ask God to shed light on areas that the enemy wants to keep dark.

Isaiah gives us another amazing prophecy of what Christ will do for us:

He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

Kimberly Mcleod is a wife and mother of 3 busy boys and lives in Cumming, Georgia. She loves Jesus, coffee, and good words. Check out her Words Journal and blog, What a Good Word. Her motto is Proverbs 12:25 “Good Words make the heart glad.”

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