Ezekiel 37:1-10; Mark 10:27
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
One of the most incredible visions in the Old Testament is recorded in Ezekiel 37:1 through 10 (I shortened this passage to save space without losing its meaning):
The hand of the Lord...brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in...the valley; and it was full of ...very dry...bones. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones...‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!...Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live....Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’” So...as I prophesied... the bones came together, bone to bone....sinews and the flesh came upon them...skin covered them...but there was no breath in them....He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath ...and say...‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come...O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophe- sied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
The valley full of dry bones and their resurrection did not happen as an actual event. It was a vision. But the vision put forth a great lesson that the people of Israel needed to learn!
- By this time, the Israelites had been carried away in three deportations to Babylon.
✡ God had warned them many times to turn from their sins or He would punish them by reducing their na- tion of Israel to nothing! (see Leviticus 26:14-39). ✡ Many Jews had been killed and many had been taken prisoner by the Babylonian king Nebachudnezzar.
- Many of the cities and towns of Israel and Judah had been destroyed, including their capital city of Jerusalem!
- The temple, where God was worshiped, was burned and torn down!
The LORD told Ezekiel, “…these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.” (Ezekiel 37:11). They had no hope of God’s blessing, of being a nation again! But God had other plans!
- As the dry bones were impossibly renewed and revived, so the Israelites would again be the LORD’s people in their own land! After seventy years God ended the Babylonian captivity, and the many of the Jews returned to their homeland! But this was just a preview…!
- We might call it ‘the main event’ for about six hundred years after they returned from Babylon, …Israel was devastated by the Romans in 70 AD, and the Jews were dispersed world-wide!
✡ For almost nineteen centuries, many experienced a precarious existence, suffering persecution, includ- ing six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust! ✡ But on May 14th, 1948, Israel once more became a nation! So impossible was this event, that only God could do it! Isaiah 66:8 and 9 records the prophesy: Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the Lord. "Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" says your God.
- Actually, ‘the main event’ is yet to come!
✡ Zechariah 14:2 and 3 gives a brief description of this final (yet future) devastation of Israel: For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. ✡ Many pre-millennialists (those who believe Jesus re- turns to initiate the Millennial Kingdom) hold that this main event will take place in the Tribulation (the last seven years before Christ returns).
What has all this to do with our second featured Scripture, Mark 10:27? “…with God all things are possible….” Only God can do the impossible…
- …of making a nation out of one century-old man, Abraham; and his ninety-year-old wife, Sarah! But they are the progenitors of Israel.
- …of flourishing a Bedouin family into a multi-million number of people!
- …of rescuing an enslaved multitude from the most powerful nation at that time in the earth!
- …of providing for two to three million people in the desert for forty years!
- …of bringing them into the Promised Land already occupied by powerful kingdoms!
- …of preserving that people through more than 3,000 years of challenges that would have wiped out forever other nations, kingdoms, and empires!
- …of making Israel (and Jerusalem) the center of His eternal kingdom!
God is the LORD of the Possible!
But let’s look further at Mark 10:27: “Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
- The context starts in Mark 10:17 when the rich young ruler (rich – see Mark 10:22; young – see Matthew 19:20; ruler – see Luke 18:18) who sincerely asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
✞ Because this young man was already outwardly ob- servant of the Jewish rabbinical law, it seems he was looking for the Good Teacher’s confirmation and blessing that he was on the right path! ✞ But Jesus began to answer him by a question and a statement: ➔ Mark 10:18 – “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” He was saying, “If you call Me good, acknowledge that I am God!” ➔ Mark 10:19 – “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not de- fraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” ➔ Notice: The Lord left out some very impor- tant commandments – exactly half of the Ten Commandments: ❏ Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before Me.” ❏ Exodus 20:4 – “You shall not make for yourself any carved image....” ❏ Exodus 20:7 – “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain....” ❏ Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” ❏ Exodus 20:17 – “You shall not covet....” ✞ The young man answered, “Teacher, all these things I have observed from my youth.” (Mark 10:20). ➔ He had kept the commandments that Jesus mentioned – at least outwardly! ➔ But the first and the last of the Ten Commandments (in those listed that Jesus left out), have to do with idolatry and covetousness... ❏ ...Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “...covetousness...is idolatry ...”! ❏ Apparently, the young man was covetous because he was very wrapped up in his wealth, put- ting material riches ahead of God! How do we know?... ✞ Jesus told him in Mark 10:21, “One thing you lack: Go...sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up your cross, and follow Me.” ✞ And the rich young ruler couldn’t do it! It says in Mark 10:22, “...he was sad at this word, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.”
- Jesus then turned to His disciples:
...how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the king- dom of God. (Mark 10:24 and 25). ✞ In Mark 10:26 it says, “...they were astonished beyond measure, saying..., “Who then can be saved?” The general teaching among the Jews was that if a person was prosperous and rich, it meant he had God’s blessing! (see for instance Psalm 112:1-3; Proverbs 13:21; 24:4). ✞ And this is when “...Jesus said, ‘With men it is im- possible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’”
Now, what are the impossibilities and possibilities in your life?
If you are in His Word…
If you are seeking His will…
If you are obeying His leading…
If you are waiting on Him in prayer…
“…with God all things are possible…”!