There are times when something that has grown old and outdated needs to be made new and fresh again. You have likely seen old shopping areas or aging and abandoned downtown districts given a facelift that brings them back to life. We call this “revitalization.”
Revitalization leads to renewed excitement, usefulness and opportunities. What was in decline begins to incline. What was written off and rejected becomes attractive. What was ugly and blighted becomes beautiful. What was avoided is transformed into a sought out destination. What people thought was dead is resurrected.
Many times the revitalization of an area is more desirable than building something brand new. When such areas are aesthetically updated in a tasteful way, they possess a sense of character that cannot be replicated in something new. There is a richness to revitalization — a sense of old wrapped in new — that produces something very positive.
One of the things we learn about God in the Bible is that He specializes in revitalization. He is the “master restorer.” He gladly and enthusiastically takes old things and makes them new again. He takes what has been written off as outdated, irrelevant and unattractive and breathes freshness into it.
Whether it is a life that has grown stale and purposeless, a marriage that has fallen into disrepair, a church that has slipped into decline, or a friendship that has been damaged by emotional blows and neglect, God delights in revitalization projects. He is ready to take them on and amaze us with what He can do, turning old to new.
In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel God poses an interesting question that He immediately proceeds to answer. Both the question and the answer point us to the promise of revitalization:
“The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones become living people again?’ ‘O Sovereign Lord,’ I replied, ‘you alone know the answer to that.’ ” — Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NLT)
The prophet Ezekiel was given the vision of a valley filled with dead, dry bones. God’s question to him was straightforward, “Can these bones live again? Is there any hope for their revitalization?” Ezekiel wisely answered, “God, only you know the answer to this question!” Ezekiel understood that God was the only One capable of such a feat. God then answered His own question:
“Then he said to me, ‘Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’” — Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NLT)
When you read the rest of the story in Ezekiel 37, you discover that God did what He promised. The dead bones came to life. A massive, miraculous revitalization project was completed by the grace and power of God. His people lived again!
Are you in need of this kind of miracle in some part of your life? What God did with these bones, He can do for you. Revitalization means that God can and will do something new for you!