Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust…
I. AN INVOCATION OR ADDRESS. "Ye that dwell in dust." To whom is this designation applicable, and to whom does it in point of fact apply?
1. All men, without exception, may be described as dwelling in dust. They live in houses of clay; their foundation is in the dust; they are crushed before the moth. They are made of the earth, earthy.
2. This address is still more descriptive of mankind, as it refers to their sin and guilt in the sight of God. They are sunk in the depths of abject servitude.
3. But it is not to sinners in their natural state that the words of our text are addressed. God directs them to His chosen people, and says even unto them, "Ye that dwell in dust." Nor is the expression inappropriate. For humble and lowly is the spiritual estate even of the believer. His home is in Heaven, his treasure is there, his heart is there, his Redeemer is there; and though he wishes to be in thought and feeling continually there, the opposing influences of sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh, retard his efforts, and cloud the sunshine of his joys with ever-recurring darkness. Is it not strange that an heir of immortality, a participant in Christ's everlasting redemption, a member of the Saviour's ever-living body, a being who is destined for eternal glory should drink the cup of humiliation and suffering in the dust? There is another sense in which God's people may be described by this epithet. They dwell in dust, inasmuch as their life in this world is a life of affliction.
4. But, lastly, the address contained in our text refers literally to those who dwell in the dust — who reside in the cold and cheerless tomb.
II. A SUMMONS OR COMMAND. "Awake and ring." The passage is not addressed to all who dwell in dust, as the context clearly shows, but only to those who are God's chosen and willing people. There is a night of death that has no morning, but it is yet future, distant, and unseen. All who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth, they that have done evil as well as they that have done good. But it is only to the righteous that the voice of Omnipotence shall say, Awake and sing! Brightly and beautifully on them will dawn the resurrection morning.
III. THE REASON WHY GOD COMMANDS THEM THAT DWELL IN DUST TO AWAKE AND SING. It is because their dew is as the dew of herbs. Dew in countries such as Judea, where rain seldom falls, is the grand agent that fertilises, fructifies, and waters the earth. They that dwell in dust have their dew. Their dew is the beneficent law of Heaven, which seals them up in the grave, until such time as the fructifying influence of the Spirit shall quicken them into a resurrection life.
IV. THE RESULT OF THE COMMAND, Awake and sing. The earth shall cast out the dead. The subject presents to us —
1. A ground of comfort amidst all the distresses of life.
2. A most powerful motive to holiness and duty.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.