And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”Ezekiel 37:3-10
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
The events of the last several years have escalated to become frighteningly similar to the events in the history of Israel prior to their Babylonian exile. Abandonment of God. The people given to idolatry. Ungodly political leaders. Destruction, disease, and death all around. For seven years during the Babylonian exile, Ezekiel prophesied hopelessness and judgement against Judah and her enemies. Judgement because Israel did the very thing that Adam and Eve did all the way back in the Garden.
First they allowed temptation to sow a seed of doubt of God’s Word in their hearts. Then their vision was enticed by their own appetites. They rejected God’s commandments and ultimately hid from Him as they were exposed before the world. As a result, they were taken out of the “land flowing with milk and honey” into slavery once again. And true to pattern, the hearts of the people of Israel were dead as a result of their sin. Dry as a result of their abandonment. Scattered as a result of their own ambitions.
But Ezekiel comes along with a message of hope. God’s judgement would not last forever, because His mercies are everlasting. His promises must be preserved for the hope of the world. And He gives Ezekiel a vision to the valley of dry bones.
On the surface, the vision begins with a feeling of hopelessness. The army lay defeated and dead in the low ground of the valley. And God asks Ezekiel a seemingly rhetorical question: “Can these bones live?” The natural man would of course say “No. What is dead is dead.” But we are talking with the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. The God of miracles. The God who breathes life into dead, decayed bones. The God who breathes hope into dead, withered hearts.
There are a few things that the reader should notice in this passage:
- The prophet is only commanded to do one thing – speak the Word of God. Nothing more, nothing less. No commentary. No exposition. Simply speak over the bones the Word of the Lord.
- The prophet had to obey the command of God in the vision in order to see what God was doing. Obedience to God’s commandments is paramount if we are to experience the miracles of God’s presence.
- It is the work of the Holy Spirit that restores, not the words of the prophet. Without the intent and willful working of the Holy Spirit to restore, the bones would have remained dead and withered in the valley of desolation.
- There was no life in the restored bodies until the Holy Spirit resided within the bodies. Appearance of godliness is still dead without the Spirit of God animating and living within the people. It wasn’t until “the breath came INTO them” that “they lived and stood on their feet.”
God’s Kingdom is not a social club. It is not an organization for political activism. It is not a non-profit, do-good charity. The Kingdom of God is “an exceedingly great army.” We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, representatives of the King – the ekklesia. Without the Holy Spirit of God residing in us, we are impotent and weak. Dead and withered. Lifeless and hopeless.
My friends, to speak the Word of God, you must know the Word of the Lord. It is imperative that you dive into the Scriptures and absorb every detail. The scriptures are the standard by which God expects us to live. It is the standard by which we will be judged. It is the standard by which we will be held accountable.
Speak the Word of God over your life. Speak His Word over your family. Speak His Word over your workplace. Speak His Word over your friendships. Speak His Word over your school. Speak His Word over your marriage. Speak His Word over your own heart. But be forewarned, it is not the Word itself that holds power. It’s the Holy Spirit of God breathing over the dried bones of your environment. It’s the Holy Spirit of God breathing into restored lives that brings hope to a people in exile from the presence of the Almighty God.
Return to Him today. Open your heart and receive His grace and His power and His authority in your life. And witness a miracle as new life begins fresh in you and the world around you.