Dry bones and new life

In one of the best-known passages of an otherwise obscure book, Ezekiel described his vision of a valley of dry bones coming to life. Actually, it was more than a vision; he  had to prophesy to the bones before anything happened.

Ezekiel recognized that the bones represented the whole lineage of Jacob. Both kingdoms that represented that lineage had been destroyed, their people exiled and scattered. In their shattered hope, the survivors felt as dead and dried up as the bones.

At Ezekiel’s first word of prophecy, the bones formed together as complete skeletons, and then the flesh returned. Now instead of a valley of dry bones, it was a valley of corpses. What value is that?

So at God’s command, Ezekiel prophesied again, this time to the breath. In place of corpses lying on the ground, a mighty army stood, ready to move forth and do God’s work.

The Hebrew for breath, ruach, is also the word for spirit in general and the Holy Spirit of God in particular. It came from the four winds. Again at Pentecost, the Spirit came with the sound of a mighty, rushing wind, bringing a new life previously unimagined.

The church has not yet finished the commission given to it before Jesus ascended into heaven. The whole earth has not yet heard the good news of Jesus Christ. That is in part because the church has become infected with much the same sin that rendered ineffective the Jewish establishment of Jesus’ time.

Look around. Some segments of the church are up doing the works of God. Some segments are corpses, not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some segments are nothing but bones lying on the ground. I’m sure each of these conditions exist within every denomination on earth

The Bible is never just the story of what God did. It’s also the story of what he  does. In Ezekiel, he brought a valley of dry bones to life, but only after he had shown it to this son of man and commanded him to prophesy to them.

If you see bones or corpses where the living army of God ought to be, pray. Prophesy over it. Just make sure you are operating in the power of the Holy Spirit yourself. There’s work to do, a war against sin to win. Only God can resurrect a dead army, and he has given each of us a part in making it happen.

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