Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 104: 25-35,37
Romans 8:22-27
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15


Ezekiel, like Daniel, spoke the Word of God in Babylon. While both those prophets are difficult reads, they are consistent in giving us the Good News that God’s people will one day return to their rightful place.

Beginning in chapter 3, we often read, The hand of the Lord came upon meJSB Today’s reading begins the same way. The meaning is that Ezekiel is so infused with the Holy Spirit that he could not do his own thing even if he wanted to.

In that first use of the term in chapter 3, God told Ezekiel to walk out to a valley. There he saw the Presence of the Lord and was possessed by the Holy Spirit. God told him then that he was not to speak unless God gave him the words to speak.

In chapter 37 the Hand of the Lord and the Holy Spirit take him—in a vision—to a different valley, one littered with the bleached bones of the dead. The account is popular because of the image of bones taking on flesh—the stuff of Hollywood.

Yet, we often miss the real story. We are almost back to Genesis when God says, Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! JSB The Breath of God comes from the four corners of the world to fill the lungs of the long-dead.

And He said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.’ Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of IsraelJSB

Our timeframe is not God’s timeframe. He will save us even after death. Yes, we might be in the small group of believer’s God will pluck up without earthly death. But the reality is that we are much more likely to die and be resurrected. And why not; it was good enough for Jesus.

There is even more good news as we read on from today’s verses. Starting with verse 22: I will make them a single nation in the land, on the hills of Israel, and one king shall be king of them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. Nor shall they ever again defile themselves by their fetishes and their abhorrent things, and by their other transgressions. I will save them in all their settlements where they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their GodJSB

The very next verse speaks of Jesus. My servant David shall be king over them; there shall be one shepherd for all of themJSB This is one of many verses which speak of the coming Messiah.

There are people in America today who are trying to force the Hand of God to act now. They believe the Temple must be rebuilt so the end times can come. What they forget is that God is in charge. We cannot push God around; we can only obey.

The Hand of God spins the universe. The Hand of God sets the times for all actions. It is our place to love Him, and obey Him, and wait on Him.

Could I create a work of work of fiction with a protagonist who wants to control his destiny only to have him fail? Could he then discover that his destiny is not his to control? Remember the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus? It’s a great example of the destiny thing. God is in charge.


Read my earlier comments on this theme here.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Flower Net


Lisa See is best known for On Golden Mountain and her books about women’s bonds. But her first book, Fower Net published in 1997, introduced a Chinese woman and an American man who are in love. There are two other books in the series.

This book is a mystery. It begins with the murders of one Chinese and one American and morphs into an international smuggling operation with roots in both China and the US. Because the first body was the son of the American Ambassador to China and the second body was the son of one of the richest men in China, the two country’s governments decided to cooperate in the investigation. Thus, Liu Hulan and David Stark found themselves trying to make sense of the dual murders and the suspicious actions of their superiors.

Lisa See wrote of herself: I’m part Chinese. My great-great-grandfather came here to work on the building of the transcontinental railroad. My great-grandfather was the godfather/patriarch of Los Angeles Chinatown. I don’t look at all Chinese, but I grew up in a very large Chinese-American family. I have hundreds of relatives in Los Angeles, of which there are only about a dozen who look like me.

She is devoted to explaining Chinese culture to Americans. For each book, she spends time traveling in China and exploring Chinatowns in America. Some readers will complain about having to wade through the cultural explanations as well as the details of Chinese medicine and the smuggling operations, but I am eager to learn more. This is a good book.

There are few religious elements in the book in part because that was not the intent. I suspect trying to include a Christian message would have weakened the story. At its base, this is a cultural clash. Yet, See portrays both American and Chinese as people, people who do good things and people who do bad things. No one group has a monopoly on goodness.

That, to me, is an important Christian message. Humans are too eager to demonize those who are different. We see it too much on the international level. Politicians use it to stir up support for themselves. Christians also use it to emphasize our “special” status with God.

G K Chesterton created the character of Father Brown and placed him in many unique situations. If you have read them you will remember that Brown never put anyone down. He was at home where ever he found himself and he liked the people he was with.

Lisa See had this to say about herself. But because of how I look I will always be “outside.” In Los Angeles Chinatown, people know me, but when I go to other Chinese communities or to China, people see me as an outsider. When I go into the larger white community here in the U.S., people look at me and talk to me as though I belong, but inside I often feel very foreign. I don’t like their bigotry and racism. In both worlds, I’m a bit outside. I think this has made me a better— and certainly more interesting—writer, because it really makes me look and feel.

Followers of Jesus love, they do not hate.

Mike Lawrence