Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.
There are times when our efforts to change for the better seem futile, when the standard “formula” to becoming more spiritual does not seem to work. There are times when our inability to reject the lusts of the flesh seem to bear down on us until we feel like giving up the fight. This verse tells us that though we dwell in dust by being confined to the weaknesses of our physical bodies, we still can “awake and sing” through the power of spiritual resurrection.
In the Greco-Roman era, warfare was up-close, sanguinary, and lethal. The Greeks and Romans, who were the masters of warfare, often employed the phalanx—a military formation consisting of rows of heavily armored soldiers with full-body shield and spear. A single soldier who was not in this formation was very vulnerable in battle; the chances of him deserting the battlefield were very high. The phalanx, therefore, was a reassuring source of protection and courage. It was a very simple formation–one simply lined up, with comrades to the left and right–but it proved to be overwhelmingly effective, as this formation allowed Alexander the Great to defeat armies that were over twice their size, taking over the known world.
We do not get to choose many things in life. We do not choose when we are going to be born, who our parents are, or when we are going to die. But after the time you are born and before you die, life is a sequence of choices. You can choose what type of life to live, and you can choose what type of God to worship. Is the LORD your God, or do you want to choose another? He gives you the choice.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (Jhn 15:16)
Jesus wants us to bear much fruit, by which our heavenly Father might be glorified (John 15:8). Abiding in Christ is the key to all fruitfulness. We must remain in the Lord to be fruitful. Abiding in Christ involves letting His words abide in us. Bearing fruit means loving other people. If we bear fruit, we love people and win people to Christ. When we give to others out of love, it shows that we have embraced the gospel of Christ and lived out its message.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Ps 40:2 NIV)
Seeing the injustice, unrest, and chaos of this society, we may have feelings of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, anger, helplessness, or even hopelessness. Is getting trampled on by ruthless scoundrels justifiable? Violence is not the answer – we need to come together, lift each other up, and ensure justice will be served. Most of us are going through the same storm, albeit in different boats. The storm may be uncertain, but we certainly are in our own boats and trying to learn how to navigate through this storm. When I am in despair, I look to King David and his words of wisdom in the book of Psalms.