August 17, 2017
What The Valley of Dry Bones Can Teach Us Today
When Ezekiel entered the valley of dry bones, the outlook was bleak; death hung over the battlefield like a thick dark cloud of gloom. Then suddenly, God rocked Ezekiel’s world when He asked the prophet a ridiculous question: “Can these bones live?” The great prophet staggered to comprehend the possible outcome of God’s incredible inquiry. Finally, he gathered himself and answered, “You know, Lord.” The rest is history: a mighty army emerged from the valley of dry bones as Ezekiel prophesied life into that graveyard (see Ezekiel 37:1-10).
Our world today seems to be in disarray. Poverty, immorality, and injustice are pelting our nations like a plague, and yet once again God’s prophetic people stand in the valley of the shadow of death, and once again God is asking us the same question: “Can these bones live?” The history of our nations hang in the balance as we ponder the answer to this profound question; will we inspire mass despair, or will we equip a mighty army of light bearers who transform this deep darkness?
God’s exhortation to Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones of a once powerful army and restore them to their former glory was a shadow of things to come (See Hebrews 10:1). It was a foretaste of the most important role of God’s prophetic people: to breathe life into the dead, dusty army of believers that once turned the world upside down.
The Wilderness is a Battlefield
Do you remember the scene in the gospels when the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? For 40 days and nights the Son of God refused to eat or drink anything. He looked broken, tattered, and weak–easy prey for a powerful devil. The devil slithered into the wilderness on the 40th day, brash and arrogant, ready to unleash his devious plot to destroy God’s Messiah and take over the world. But what the devil didn’t realize was that the whole thing was a trap to lure him into the wilderness and defeat him on his own terms. Blow by blow they went at it all day, fighting from the pinnacle of the Temple to the highest mountain in the world; the devil barraged Jesus with every conceivable weapon in his arsenal, even using the Word of God against Him. But at the end of day the Son of God had won! Jesus exited the wilderness in the “power of the Spirit,” which launched Him into His public ministry of destroying the works of the devil! (See Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11).
Jesus Has the Final Say
Three and a half years later they would meet again for one final battle. Like Ezekiel’s boneyard, this war would be fought at a place called Golgotha, which means “the skull.” (Evidently satan must have missed Ezekiel’s revelation; dead bones become a mighty army). Satan finally managed to get Jesus nailed to a cross and buried in a grave. But unbeknownst to him, death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him, and the devil could not defeat Him. The heavens thundered and the earth quaked as watching warriors and waiting witnesses gathered for three long days. Finally a huge boulder rolled away from a stone tomb and Jesus emerged with a ring of keys (metaphorically speaking). ”All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” He proclaimed, “therefore, make disciples of ALL nations.” The devil had once again fallen for the same tactic, but this time his overconfident miscalculation would become his demise. If the devil knew what was going to happen to him at the cross, he would’ve killed everybody who was trying to kill Jesus!
4 WAYS TO SEE LIFE IN THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES
Okay Kris, what is your point? Actually, I have 4 of them. Just as Ezekiel was called to look at a hopeless situation of death and dismay and have a role in changing the course of history, so must we as believers look at our world and see beyond what the enemy is up to. Here are 4 ways that we can make a difference:
- We have to see beyond what’s obvious. When everybody else sees a valley of dry bones, it is encumbered upon us as the prophetic people of God to envision a mighty army. Not only do we need to see beyond, but we have to take action, procreating with God through prophetic declarations. As we see through Ezekiel’s story, prophecy is not just telling the future; oftentimes God calls us to cause the future!
- We have to lead the way. When the people of God feel defeated, depressed, powerless and outnumbered, it is the responsibility of God’s prophetic people to rise up and pick a fight against overwhelming odds, because we can see into the invisible realm and we know that there are more for us than those who are against us!
- We must be bold bearers of hope. When the Body of Christ encounters demonic forces in the dark night of the soul and they feel weak, hungry, and fragile, it is God’s prophetic people who can see past the plots of the enemy and envision the battle plans of the angel armies. This gives us authority to release declarations of hope in the midst of the house of horrors, which in turn ensnares principalities, and disarms and imprisons them in their own demonic devices.
- We must remember God’s promises! When the mourners see a crucified body and the soldiers are counting their coins, and all the while Pilot has washed his hands of the whole mess; it is the people of God, thousands years earlier, who had already predicted an empty tomb!
The world waits in hopeful anticipation as God’s prophetic people stand in the valley of decision. My prayer is that God would once again equip us to see a mighty army rise from the dry bones of global despair, and shine the light of hope into this desperate world! How is God changing the way you view the valleys of life? Let me know in the comments below!
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