Summary: This week’s song for Summer Playlist is “Rattle!” by Elevation Worship. This song takes us to three accounts in scripture all with very similar outcomes. That which seems dead is brought to life… that which seems impossible is made possible by the power of God. For many of us there are things in our life that we have given up hope of ever turning around. Maybe it’s a relationship, a dream God placed in you, an addiction that seems unbeatable, or an illness, but one of the greatest things we can remind our hearts and continue to declare is “Dry bones hear the word of the Lord”.
Scripture: 2 Kings 13:10-24; Ez. 37:1-14
Icebreaker: What is something you used to love to do as a kid that you no longer do?
- What is completely dead in your life right now? A relationship, a business, a dream, your self esteem? How long ago did you stop praying for it? Did you ever pray for it? Why did you stop (or never start)?
- In Ezekiel 37:4, the Lord commands, “Prophesy to these bones…” What is your knee-jerk reaction to the word “prophecy?” What experience do you have with prophetic words spoken over people? What makes you embrace or push away from the topic of prophecy?
- Has God ever come through for you when it looked like things were hopeless? How do we hang on to hope when the situation of our lives is like the valley of dry bones?
- Read Ezekiel 37:4. How do we hear God’s purposes and plans in our life when we feel dry? Share an experience of how you have heard from God or how you continuously see His direction in your life.
- Read Matthew 12:33-37. How does Jesus view the power of words? Look up the word “careless” that Jesus uses in a concordance, concordance app (Blue Letter Bible), or Word Study Bible. What does careless speech look like, and why is it easier to use than careful speech? As Christians, why is it important for us to have discernment in our words when the rest of the world is so quick to respond to things without thinking them through (careless speech)?
- Read Proverbs 18. Which verses are convicting to you this week and why? Can that conviction be traced back to something going on in your heart that is producing this type of speech?
- Send Out Question: What is the seemingly dead situation you would like to turn over to God this week? What is one thing you can do each day to remind yourself that God can bring dead bones to life?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
We may not be in a situation like Ezekiel was where we are experiencing God’s flow of power through our words to bring physical bones back to life, but that doesn’t mean our words don’t have power behind them. A few weeks ago, we talked about the big word “sanctification” and how God is forming us to be more like Jesus through our situations. Our words are another area that He is going after in that process. But does God really care about what I say on a daily basis when I’m “doing all the right things”? Short answer, “Absolutely yes!”, because your daily words may be many, but they flow from one root – your heart condition.
The Bible (and Jesus Himself) make it very evident that words have a power behind them that we may never understand on this side of Heaven. In Matthew 12:33-37 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Jesus talks about what He thinks about words and finishes with a powerful statement saying, “I tell you on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Not by your actions or how many times you attended church, but by your words. Our literal acceptance of salvation comes through words in prayer to God confessing our sins and accepting His free gift of Jesus’ atonement of our sins. There is no physical action we do to be saved, just words. We can do great things with them from ending wars to getting married, but what can we damage by just having some bad words during a bad day?
Well, a bad mood can change, but the words spoken carelessly during that time can affect how people view you and what they think of Who you say you represent. The representation of the Cross and who God is, is at stake in your words. Proverbs 18:21 states, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” This verse has a lot more depth for another time, but think of it this way – someone’s view of God’s reality, His ability to change people for the better, if He’s kind or not, loving, accepting, forgiving, merciful, and actually loves them, is dependent on how you represent Him in your speech. It is a privilege to be an ambassador for the Kingdom to this world, but with privilege comes responsibility. That responsibility as a Christian sometimes looks like putting yourself in a time-out on a bad day where your speech could damage your representation of Him. In Proverbs 17:27 and many other Proverbs, the Bible actually teaches us that silence is wise when words will damage. That silence is not void of action though, as it is our growing time through prayer. It may not seem like prayer would affect our speech all that much, but when you pray, you are interacting with the Holy Spirit and can draw your strength from Him to have the type of speech that is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, benevolent, gentle, and faithful to the message of Christ. Finally, the last fruit of the Holy Spirit (self control) is encapsulated in discernment. This week (and year) don’t count out prayer as a crucial part of becoming more like Jesus in your speech. By analyzing your words, you are actually analyzing your heart condition, since your words are the result of it.
So, this week in our fast-paced world of instant opinions and social media, let’s show our community what it means to be loving in our speech by representing our Savior as someone they would actually like to get to know. Remember that He gives us the power to respond in a self-controlled way that is different from the world. Let the Holy Spirit’s wisdom be seen through how we listen to understand, not to just respond. May we be strong in our talk of truth and allow God’s Word to be evident in our lives through our speech.
What words can do: Proverbs 8:12-14; 10:31-32; 11:9, 11-13; 12:18-25; 13: 2-3; 14:3,7; 15:1-4, 28; 16:24; 17:20, 27-28; 18:1-24; 21:23; 25:18; and many other Proverbs.
How we are to speak as Christians:Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 3:1-15; 4:5-6; James 3:3-6; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 3:10; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 141:3