On Sabbath we visited a valley of dry bones in part two of our “Something from Heaven” series about the Holy Spirit. Rewind to Ezekiel 37 where the greatest revival in history took place under the most impossible of circumstances.
In verse one we find Ezekiel in a valley of bones. Who brought Ezekiel to this valley? The Lord. Right away we learn that God shows up in the unlikeliest places. In times of our greatest stress and bewilderment, God is there. He’s not confined to padded pews and stained-glass buildings. Our God is wherever the need is greatest, and if that place is a valley of dry bones, He is there too!
After the Lord takes Ezekiel on a walking tour of the bones, He asks, “Son of man, CAN THESE BONES LIVE?” (verse 3). The obvious answer is NO. But Ezekiel hesitates. He wrestles between what he believes by faith and what he sees with his eyes. Have you been there?
Ezekiel gives the right answer: “O sovereign Lord, you alone know” (vs. 3). When faced with an “impossible” situation, trust God to know what to do. The prophet could see no hope as he looked around him, but that’s when the power of God began to work. The impossible becomes possible when we realize that it’s “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6). This is exactly how God brings dry bones to life.
“Then He said to me, ‘Prophecy to these bones and say to them. . .’” (Vs. 4). The impossible becomes possible when we speak the Word of the Lord. Even when it seems our preaching is producing no results, as the angel told John after the scroll soured in his stomach, “You must prophesy again before many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” (Rev. 10:11) We can’t give up in the face of disappointment or delay. If the people of the world can continue speaking foolishness, the people of God can and must continue speaking truthfulness.
After speaking the Word comes the hearing. “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord!” (Verse 4) More than ever before, we need to HEAR the Word of God. “The world is perishing for want of the gospel. There is a famine for the word of God. There are few who preach the word unmixed with human tradition. Though men have the Bible in their hands, they do not receive the blessing that God has placed in it for them.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 228)
We must guard against allowing the preaching of the word to be mere entertainment. (See Ezek. 33:30-32.) God reminds us through this passage that the true purpose of prophecy is to change people’s lives, not to draw a crowd.
Only two things bring these bones to life: God’s word and God’s spirit. Nothing else. Nothing of man. Nothing of Ezekiel. Nothing of the bones. You can’t fix you! Bones can’t bring themselves to life…without something from heaven!
Ezekiel did as he was told, and “There was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them” (verses 7, 8).
Why didn’t the vision end after Ezekiel spoke the word of the Lord to the bones and they came together with organs, sinews, and flesh? Because it’s too easy to mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revival. The truth is, the situation only appeared to have improved. Before you had bones; now you have corpses, but both are equally dead!
As important as the Word of God is, without the Spirit to breathe His life into it and us, we remain spiritually dead. “The letter killeth, but the spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). The Spirit gives potency to the Word and makes it effectual in our lives. These corpses still need life!
There are three lessons we learn here:
1) Revival takes time. There’s a process. If you try to have Pentecost without Calvary, you’ll only have the appearance of revival–the glitz, but no glory.
2) Don’t stop praying too soon! Ask and keep on asking! (Luke 11:9-13)
3) Revival brings unity. The bones came together. Jesus’ final prayer was that we might be one. (See John 17:21.) This coming together at a time of great national and global division would be a sign of Jesus’ ability to make this impossibility possible.
Lastly, the impossible becomes possible when we speak to God. (See verses 9, 10.) Nothing is more radical, more revolutionary, or more remarkable than what happens when the Spirit of Almighty God comes to dwell inside a human being in response to prayer. When it comes to asking for the Holy Spirit to bring us to life, we have permission to “speak freely–to prophesy to the Spirit. Say “COME HOLY SPIRIT, I NEED YOU!” That’s our part. We can’t impart life, but we can ask for the Life giver.
“All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit put forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind . . . . in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of OMNIPOTENCE! (Desire of Ages, p. 827)
Can dry bones live? Yes! If they receive something from Heaven. These bones can live because God shows up in the unlikeliest places. All things are ours through prayer, including resurrection life! (See verses 11-13.)
Are you in a valley of dry bones right now? What are the “impossible” circumstances confronting you today? Speak the Word; Hear the Word; and Speak to God. Reach for something from heaven, and don’t stop praying too soon. Nothing is too hard for the Lord!” –Pastor Randy