There are some tv shows that I really like to watch. One of them is called “Bones”. It’s about a forensic anthropologist who has an impressive ability to solve murder cases by clues left on victims bodies. The human skeleton is a fascinating thing.
- The adult human body has 206 bones
- There are 26 bones in the human foot
- The human hand has 54 bones
- Humans and giraffes have the same number of bones in their necks.
- Bones function as the skeleton of the human body, allow body parts to move and protect organs from impact damage.
- Dead bones are dry and brittle, but living bones feel wet and a little soft. They are also slightly flexible, so they can absorb pressure.
God mentions something about bones, actually he mentions a whole valley of them in the prophetic book of Ezekiel 37:1-14.
A Valley of Dry Bones
37 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’
The Necessity for Revival v.1-3
Scripture indicates a number of things that must precede revival. Such as obedience, humility, and repentance. The reason the church isn’t what it was in the book of acts is because they were so much more desperate and obedient then we are. In order to understand the necessity for revival, we must understand what revival is. Revival is a need for a spiritual awakening among God’s people. It is a work of God producing supernatural results.
most religious activity in the United States does not resemble true revival. We know only a cheap imitation.We schedule popular speakers and the best musicians and set aside a week for special meetings. We call that revival. Our meetings are set up by organizers, not agonizers.We have reduced a move of God to a method.
The great theologian A.W Tozer said “We must have a reformation within the Church. To beg for a flood of blessing to come upon a backslidden and disobedient Church is to waste time and effort. A new wave of religious interest will do no more than add numbers to churches that have no intention to own the Lordship of Jesus and come under obedience to His commandments. God is not interested in increased church attendance unless those who attend amend their ways and begin to live holy lives.
The prophet Ezekiel lived in the 6th century b.c and was in exile under the babylonians. Everything was in turmoil for him & nothing was his way. Israel had gone from a nation full of life of hope to one of death, decay and hopelessness. Ezekiel was mourning over the death of his wife. He was wondering where God is in all of this. Have you ever been in that place. A place that just you felt just hopeless and defeated?
It says in verse 37 that “the Lord took hold of Ezekiel”. In another translation it says that “the Lord’s hand was upon him”Even in the darkness of his despair, God was there, and he is with us. He doesn’t promise to take us out of our storms, but he does promise to be there every step of the way.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. God said “No one can come to me,unless the Father who has sent me draws him”
Then God showed Ezekiel a vision of bones that were completely dry. The bones probably have been laying there for a considerable time in the midst of debris in a battle. In a time when a thousand questions was running through the mind of Ezekiel. Sometimes God allows dryness that is parched and long suffering as we wait upon the Lord and our wings mount up like eagles so we can soar as we trust in him.
God turns around and asks him a question. He asks “Can these dry bones live”? There was this pile of death, coldness, and apathy that laid waste. Could these casualties of war be brought back to life? Sadly this is how most churches look and feel like. Discouraged from the empty pews. No excitement or singing during the service, while there bibles just collect dust at home. They use to be on fire for God but Satan has put that fire out. They might of been part of a board or ministry in the past and as soon as trouble came, they laid down in defeat and never rose from death valley.
Here we find God speaking to a very downcast and dejected Ezekiel, saying to him; “Can these casualties be brought to life? Can they once again have life restored to them? Can that first love be set alight once again? Can they be revived Ezekiel?”
At a first glance the damage seemed irreversible. This was a valley of bones. Not one of the bones was in its correct position to make a skeleton, yet alone any sinew of flesh and blood. Just dry bones, mile upon mile of lifeless, parched, bleached bones. They were so dry, that not even a dog would take one, just too tough to chew.
Ezekiel’s response to whether these dry bones could live again, was “O Lord God, you know”. I think soon after he said that, he realized that all his striving and trying, he was doing in his own power and not in God’s strength. God then told him to speak a prophecy over the dry bones “Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
The Nature of Revival v.4-10
This is the nature of revival. To boldly speak God’s truth of life and reveal his power in the midst of death. God is still in the revival business. He brought the world into existence by the power of His spoken Word. He loves to bring dead things to life. God can take the pharisee to the pharmacy and reveal his healing power. God can take the addict and fill them with the joy of his salvation.When revival is in it’s beginning stages people are praying. They are really praying and calling out to the Lord for renewal in their lives, community, and church. The nature of revival is found in the character of Christ.
As we become more like him, revival will pour into our hearts it will flow out like a wildfire.In the book of James it says the prayers of the righeous avail much. There is great power in prayer. Jesus said my house “shall be a house of prayer” and he thought prayer was important enough that he even taught his disciples how to pray..
If we want to say prayers that are worthy of God hearing them, then I’m sorry but, as a church, we need to pray more than a couple minutes on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. Revivals come through prayer and fasting. Some of the great early church fathers and theologians thought highly of prayer and fasting such as..
- POLYCARP in 110 A.D., he urged fasting upon the saints as a powerful aid against temptation and fleshly lusts.
- TERTULLIAN wrote a treatise on the subject in 210 A.D. In it, he defended fasting as a better aid to religion than feasting.
- MARTIN LUTHER used to fast frequently. He said his flesh would grumble dreadfully at abstinence, but fast he would, for he found that when he was fasting, it quickened his praying.
The LORD will guide us continually. He will satisfy our souls in drought. He will strengthen our bodies.We shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among us shall build the old waste places. God will give us a special anointing and empower us for service. There will be no more excuses of how can we get this done but, we will have faith that just like God can move mountains, he will move the obstacles that are in our way. In the nature of revival we will see a shift and God’s people will be repositioned so they can reach their destiny.
God and Ezekiel continue their conversation in verse 4. God told Ezekiel to speak a prophetic word to these dry bones and tell them to listen to the Word of the Lord! Now most people think of prophecy as only of “foretelling the future” but it is also a proclamation of truth.
Ezekiel does both here as he proclaims the truth of God these bones start to live again, flesh and muscles start growing on the bones. You heard a clattering of the bones as they were being reconnected again. You see when there are dry bones there isn’t only discouragement present because of the circumstance but there is a lack of unity.
When the body of Christ is like a valley of dry bones we must keep ourselves from the spirit of discouragement and keep us unified in the mission of reaching people with the gospel of Christ. But, there can be no revival without repentance. If we are a church that isn’t winning the lost, then we are a church living in sin.We need to humble ourselves and approach God’s throne of grace. Jesus began His ministry with one message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In His last address to the seven churches in Revelation, seven times He says, “Repent!”
After commending the church at Ephesus for all the good things they were doing, Jesus rebukes them by saying, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev. 2:4-5, NIV).He didn’t say, “I need you to change your mind about your ways.” He said, “I want you to change your ways! Come back to Me. Fall in love with Me once again.”
I assure you that revival entered the church at Ephesus the moment they heard His words and repented of their ways.
The Newness in Revival v.11-14
Finally, there is a newness in revival. A new attitude, a new sensitivity to sin, a new desperation to pray, a new desire for God. God told Ezekiel that these dead bones represented Israel. They felt hopeless and defeated. But God’s promise to them was that they would rise again and that they would know that HE is Lord. A lot of times even in the church, we can take God off the throne and replace Him with our bank account, member preferences, or even the pastor.
After the breath of God filled the dry bones in the valley, flesh, muscles, and skin started to grow on the bones and by the glory of God an army of God rose to it’s feet. This reminds me of the story of Gideon whose army was shrunk down to 300 and under impossible odds stood up after battle victorious and when they did the circumstances were so bleak that they had no choice to give glory to God. If your dreams arent big enough that you don’t need God to intervene then your dreams arent big enough. Both armies came back changed and renewed in their faith, trusting God with the impossible.
When there is revival we hear a new sound. From generation to generation the music changes. Revival sounds like people weeping at the altar, revival doesn’t sound like a monotone singing of Amazing Grace “ how sweet the sound”but,“AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND!” Revival sounds like people singing at the top of their lungs giving praise to the father in heaven. Revival sounds like many people praying in desperation and people’s lives being changed as they give themselves to Christ.
In all these trials, tribulations, and suffering the nation of Israel was facing. God had a purpose for it. He was doing a new thing. Sometimes is is a return to something old but, with a new perspective I think about the story of the prodigal son. There are many prodigals out there. Maybe you are one today. God wants us to reach out to them and be the open arms of the father. A revival is a fire that begins in one person’s heart that is soon spread to others.but, there has to be someone who will light the match.