Sermon Tone Analysis

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I worked at this cool company years ago.
With Kelly and Jono, many of you know Jeff Navarra from there too.
Really cool tech, really cool startup feel.
Working, trying to make this startup work.
Trying to make it happen.
Struggling to bring in the next contract, building up debt, because if it we JUST get the next contract, maybe that will be it!
But, by the time we get there, the next contract is just enough to catch us up to what we spent getting there, but not quite.
Living on life support.
There are many things worth life support, fighting for life.
But this was like giving long-term CPR to a goldfish.
After a couple months of no paycheck, I had to call it.
Time of death: February 2018.
Do you think God got tired of “trying” with Israel?
Talk about fruitless effort.
Talk about life support.
They “are my people...” and there they go sinning again.
Leaving me again.
Let’s fix em up.
Let’s give them another prophet, another judge, another king, another chance, another try.
God trying over and over again.
At what point do you just call it?
Stop trying to make it happen.
It isn’t going to happen!!!
Ezekiel’s Sweet Words of Encouragement
Now here’s Ezekiel.
Giving such sweet words of encouragement.
With all the creativity, the street theater, the performance art God call Ezekiel to… it all has one strong message in the first 30 or so chapters.
Y’all messed up, Israel.
You sinned, you blew it… and now you’re going to pay!!!
He said sweet things like this:
“Positively LOATHE...”
I am sure Israel loved hearing all this.
Especially while in exile, in refugee camps, driven from their homes.
Sounds great.
Thanks, God.
I am sure Ezekiel LOVED constantly delivering bad news.
Like, at what point should God just call it a day.
Israel isn’t repenting.
It’s not going to happen.
They aren’t going to get it right.
It’s got to be close to over, right?
After 30 something chapters of judgment.
Creative, dramatic, but judgment nonethless… now he is going to deliver some hope.
Kind of.
It’s a bit morbid.
Ezekiel 37:1–14 (ESV)
1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.
Picture a valley, for a minute.
Valley’s… aren’t small.
If it’s “small” that’s a ditch, or a gulley.
To be a valley, you’re talking the "V” between two mountains, right.
And it isn’t that there “are bones” in this valley.
The valley is “full.”
And Ezekiel is right in the middle of it.
2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.
I like a good visual.
How’s this?
And these weren’t recent bones, either.
Baked by the sun, dried by the wind, the worms, the maggots, the birds had had their way.
Long dead.
Dead dead.
Super dead.
Not “Princess Bride, only mostly dead.”
Dead, you’re dead, long dead dead.
I found a lovely article on PubMed about the rates of human decay in Arizona desert areas.
So that’s in my search history now.
Bleaching and exfoliation begins at 9 months, so even for exposed bones like this, they are more than year dead.
3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”
I wish we had tone here.
I hope this was like “Oh, you, YHWH, you know!!!”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
7 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.
8 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.
First of all, a bit gross to watch the bones come together.
Did you hear that song as a kid.
“The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the shin bone...”?
Me too.
And I must have heard the chorus once.
“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...” Do you know how that chorus ends?
“Hear the word of the Lord.”
That’s this moment.
The bones assembling themselves into complete skeletons.
Then sinew growing over to connect those bones, then flesh.
And then, skin, thank the Lord.
Now they are humans to all appearances… but just corpses.
No life.
No breath.
“Breath” as you may know is a powerful word in Hebrew.
The same word means both “breath” and “Spirit” (as in our spirit, or God’s Spirit as in Holy Spirit.”
All of it: Ruach.
9 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.”
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