June 23, 2021
Everywhere we look—in our lives, our families, our church, community, and nation—we see darkness. It's easy to spot because it is actually there! We live in a sin-wrecked and sin-damaged world.
This reality was clear to the prophet Ezekiel. God took him to a valley, and all he saw was the dried, decaying bones of those past (Ezekiel 37). Ezekiel would not have seen the nation of Israel in such stark terms, but God did, and he wanted His prophet to understand the actual spiritual condition of the people.
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones ... and they were very dry." (Ezekiel 37:1-2)
But with God, there is always more to the story. God's prophet (and all of us for all time) was about to learn a lesson in spiritual physics.
CAN DEAD THINGS LIVE?
"Son of man, can these bones live?" God asked the prophet. "O Lord God, You know." (vs. 3). God knew, and only God knew.
But Ezekiel was wise enough to believe that God could do anything. He deferred the answer back to the Creator of every bone and sinew upon the earth. The Author of life and death.
And God asks the same of us. Do you believe? Do you believe in Me? Do you believe that there is a realm that is greater than the physical? A realm in which I can make dead things come back to life?
Let's get personal: Do you believe I can bring a godless, sinful person back to spiritual life? Do you think I could bring your prodigal child home? Do you believe I can resurrect a marriage? A lifeless church? A nation?
Here is the heart of the question: Do you believe in SPIRITUAL AWAKENING? That a sovereign God can move upon the dead with no help whatsoever from the dead and make them live?
If God finds you unbelieving, then your usefulness to Him and His purposes has just been capped. For everything on our side of spiritual equations operates by faith. "He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief," the Bible sadly records regarding Nazareth (Matthew 13:58).
I wonder what history will record about my city, and yours.
PROPHESY OVER THESE BONES
... God said to Ezekiel. The Lord needed a vehicle, an instrument who would so believe in Divine power to awaken the dead that he would stand and do the seemingly ridiculous.
"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 that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I amt he Lord.'" (Ezekiel 37:4-6)
God needs believing prophets, but also proclaiming prophets. Men who will stand with such faith that they can look a dry bone in the eye and confess that God is going to bring them to life!
Are you that man? Is God calling you in this day of such incredible spiritual darkness to stand over dead things and, in pure faith and obedience to God's prompting, proclaim to dead things that they are about to come to life?
If you are not willing to step out in such seemingly foolish proclamations, you will be unusable in God's hands. God needs men who will make these kinds of proclamations, who operate with confidence in God's ability to do the miraculous. Men who will pray like Ezekiel and proclaim as he proclaimed. Prophets who understand that bringing spiritual awakening to a city is just as possible in our day as it was in Ezekiel's. He is the same God.
BODIES WITH NO BREATH
But there is one final part of the equation. Something that Ezekiel needed to see.
"So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin 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 forth from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life." So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army!" (vs. 7-10)
Every man of God has seen this equation before. Seemingly healthy bodies, but no breath. No life. There are people like this. We call them "lost" people. Paul said they are "dead in their trespasses and sin." This, of course, was all of us until the Breath came.
There are churches like this. Mechanically functioning, programs whirling, bells and whistles, but no life. They say there is life, but discerning believers know that something is off. The greatest heartache of such churches is that they have "zeal, but no power." They give a false impression to a desperately thirsty world that they are flowing with living water, but lives are not being changed. People are being sanitized on the outside but not sanctified on the inside.
Jesus was even harsher. He called such religion "whitewashed tombs, full of dead men's bones" (Matthew 2327).
Do you see this reality? Do you recognize the difference? Or do you go on, propping up lifeless corpses, hoping that your church can get a little bigger and look just a little better than the next so you can feel good about your activity?
Or do you long for the Breath? Are you that singular prophet in the midst of a valley of dry bones who has the courage to finish the job? To pray and proclaim and believe until the Breath of God comes, slowly at first, but then sweeping like a north wind into your family, your church, your community, and our nation? Until God comes and brings spiritual awakening to the land and raises from the graves an "exceedingly great army."
And then, all the world will know that only One could do so a thing—no man, no church, no human machinery. "Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it," declares the Lord. And then He will be adored.
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