Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Valley of Dry Bones - Blackness Rising
Blackness is dead, but not out. Like our father Abraham we believe in Him who raises the dead. In fact one could say that death and resurrection are God’s specialty. As much as we lament the death of blackness and as bleak as it looks for us and our children there is even more reason to have hope.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! God created black people on purpose for His purpose. By His grace and power we don’t have to spend yet another century languishing in urban ghettos nor must we confine our vision for life to the American dream. We’ve been created to spread godliness throughout the earth and empowered by His Spirit and armed with His word we can begin doing just that.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! Despite our sin, rebellion and wickedness the Lord is neither dispassionate nor completely fair. The promise of a Savior who will repair the rupture that Adam created applies to us just as it does others.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! Abraham’s seed has come and blessed the nations with salvation. Now we too can enjoy a worshiping covenantal relationship with the Covenant Lord.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! God’s power to save hasn’t diminished one micro-bit. The One who overthrew the pseudo gods of Egypt, and parted the Red Sea so that His people passed through on dry land has sent a deliverer greater than Moses to liberate all who believe from spiritual bondage. We don’t have to walk in the sins of our fathers nor follow the sinful patterns of our mothers.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! The One who caused His people to hunger so that they would know that man doesn’t live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God has given us His Spirit, a new nature, the example of His Son, each other and His eternal, authoritative and powerful word. He will watch over, care for, sustain and even cause us to thrive in the wilderness of 21st century America.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! For a greater captain than Joshua has gone to prepare a place for us. True we may live and die in the hood but the meek will still inherit the earth.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! For the Lord Himself has sent His champion to defeat our sin. The one enemy that could permanently remove us from God’s presence has been vanquished. Our champion like His great ancestor David showed that salvation doesn’t come through our own efforts or ingenuity. We’re not saved just because we’re black nor kept from salvation because we’re black. We’ve been rescued from God’s wrath by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone so that we and the world will know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! Because He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
The miracle of miracles is that each and everyone of us should have been despised and rejected by the living God. We should have borne the weight of our own grief and ourselves been stricken, smitten and afflicted by a holy God and yet He’s chosen to show grace and not fairness to us.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! The great Shepherd of our souls says Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! The Lord has kept His promise to make a new covenant that’s not like the old one made at Mt. Sinai. Now by the grace of God black people don’t have to follow the faulty rules of this world, the futile cravings of our own nature nor the foolish temptations of Satan. We too can have God’s law written on our hearts. We too can know that the Lord is our God and we are His people.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! The Lord is the God of the resurrection. He can and will send His Spirit to restore life to individuals, families and peoples that are dead in sin. He will send His word preached in the power of His Spirit to impart new life to our people, our communities and our churches. The Lord Himself has the power, goodness and grace to raise an army of black people devoted and dedicated to do His will. The Lord Himself can send His Spirit through the preaching of His word into moribund communities and arrest the sad cycle of despair, frustration, anger, violence, grief and more despair. Through the preaching of the foolish cross God can cause black folks to know that He, not white people is God and God alone.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! Jesus Christ the son of David is the great king who binds His people whether black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Jew, Arab, Indian or whatever else into one people, with one purpose and one King. Jesus rescues all of us from our cultural idolatry and satisfies all our longings for hope, healing, significance, satisfaction, identity, security, wholeness and destiny.
Can these bones live? Yes they can! For we know The Secret. What is it? Just ask Nebuchadnezzar. He discovered The Secret and praised Him who lives forever saying ‘his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
Can these bones live? Yes they can! We have Jesus, the king of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus, God’s last prophet and great high priest. We have Jesus the One from Mary’s virgin womb. Jesus the One who read the scroll of Isaiah and declared that He is the One who fulfills it. Jesus the word made flesh whose glory John, the apostles and thousands of others gazed upon in real time day after day. Jesus the One who told His followers that He is the theme, subject, substance, point, plot, main character and culmination of Scripture and by extension life, history and salvation. Jesus the one specially and specifically put forth by the Father as the propitiation for the sin of all of God’s people.
Can these bones live? Yes they can and they will! For we have Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. The One who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
To Him Who Loves Us…