This strange and distorted season of 2020 has, so far, been characterized by two life-changing events. First came the corona virus, attacking the lungs, and rendering those severely affected by it with an inability to breathe. The second event, the death of George Floyd, occurred because a police officer placed his knee upon the neck of George Floyd in such a way that Floyd’s ability to breathe was restricted. Marchers, protesting on behalf of and in sympathy with Floyd, are walking around carrying signs reflecting Floyd’s last words, “I Can’t Breathe!”.
To have breath is important. Without breath, there is no life. Where does breath come from? It comes from God and is common to every human creature. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “then the Lord God formed [that is, created the body of] man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being [an individual complete in body and spirit.” God gave breath to man in such a way that mankind was complete in body and spirit. In Genesis 3 we see the serpent come to Adam and Eve, and we see a rupture in life as God created it. No longer was mankind complete in body and spirit. Adam was still able to breathe air so that he was able to continue life physically; however, Adam was now spiritually dead. From this point forward, he was lacking something significant. He had the breath of life. The Breath of God was not in him.
In John 3 we see a man, Nicodemus, come to Jesus. Here is their conversation:
Rabbi (Teacher), we know [without any doubt] that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs [these wonders, these attesting miracles] that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified, he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.John 3:2-8 (ESV)
Picture for a moment a child exiting his mother’s womb and entering the world for the first time. What is the first thing that happens upon birth? The child is held up, and what does everyone wait for?…. that first breath! Until the air of the earth enters the child’s lungs, that child is not able to live. Picture again what it is to be born into the kingdom of God. Is it not the same thing? We receive breath, not from the air of the earth, but from the Holy Spirit as He breathes into us life fitted for the kingdom of God. At this moment we become physically and spiritually complete again.
Yet we are still living on this earth while we are living in the kingdom of God. Even though we are equipped for both kingdoms, we can often lose our focus, become distracted, become influenced by the surrounding culture. Yet God is sufficient to care for His distracted, wandering sheep. Here is what God is capable of doing:
Remember in Ezekiel 37, God takes Ezekiel to the middle of the valley and it was full of bones. God asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live” and I answered, O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bone and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will make breath enter you so that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and I will put breath in you so that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’ “ You’ll need to study the whole of Ezekiel 37 for the full context. But for these purposes, know that God can take dry, empty, and dead bones and redeem them and raise them up and breathe into them the life of God.
God has given us His Word. From 2 Timothy 3:16 we read,
All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction[of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will both publicly and privately – behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God has done one more greatest thing. Romans 5 tells us in verses 17-18,
For if by the trespass of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam), much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in [eternal] life throught the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
Once again, please read all of Romans 5 for the full context of what Adam did to bring spiritual death upon us, and of what Jesus did to bring spiritual life to us.
A Prayer of Petition
O dear Heavenly Father, O God, we ask You to breathe on us. We ask that you would breathe on the dry bones of our languishing land. Breathe on us so that we may come alive and know that You are God. Father, we ask that You would draw us into Your word and speak to us through it. We ask that we would be in such a place that Your Word can accomplish all that You intend, so that we learn again to live in conformity to Your will both publicly and privately, behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage so that we may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. O God, we need Your breath. Raise us up, Lord.