Speak Life: The Valley of Dry Bones

Speak Life: The Valley of Dry Bones

Life Church Cedar Park

April 15, 2018

This morning we are going to look at a passage of scripture from the book of Ezekiel.

First, let’s look at the context of the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a prophet of God and he prophesied to the Jewish captives in Babylon. At the time of Ezekiel, the Babylonians had invaded Judah three times and each time they took prisoners back to Babylon. 

The first invasion Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon. The second invasion Ezekiel was taken as a captive and in the third invasion Jerusalem was destroyed and all the survivors were taken as captives to Babylon. 

God spoke many prophecies through Ezekiel using words, parables, and visions. 

The book of Ezekiel is divided into two major sections. In the first half of the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1-33) Judah is accused of breaking all of God’s commandments, and they are warned by God that they will be destroyed if they persist in their sins. After Ezekiel’s announcement of Jerusalem’s destruction, the book of Ezekiel focuses on an entirely different subject, which is one of comfort and encouragement to the heartbroken Jews (Ezekiel 34-42).

The passage we are going to look at was written with the focus on comfort and encouragement to the Jews.

Ezekiel 37: 1 – 14

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, 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.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Many believe this passage refers to the 1948 restoration of Israel after 2000 years, the restoration of the dead language of the Hebrews, and the return of thousands of Jews to Israel. 

This passage is a reflection of the restoration of God.  Even while in exile the hand of the Lord was upon them.

Ezekiel 37: 1, 2

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.

God will lead you back and forth among the gravestones of your dreams, visions, gifts, talents, and promises.  God led Ezekiel back and forth among the dry bones.  

The bones had been there for a long time.  Everything they resembled was long gone.  There was nothing left but dryness, the shell of what once was.  And there was nothing Ezekiel could do about it. It can appear that you can be in that same place.  Nothing left but the shell of what you once were.

The dry bones are your hurts, your brokenness, your defeats and your loss of promises spoken.  You have been left broken and dry.  

You may be saying, “My hopes are dried up, my gifts are dried up, my future, ability, strength, my promises.  My muscle is gone.  Everything that would make me stand up is gone.  I am cut off.  I am finished.  I have missed my calling and destiny.”

God has walked us around the dry bones of our hopes, promises, dreams, and future. Those places of our pain and wounds caused by our own actions as well as the destruction that has been reeked upon us by others.  

And God asks in verse 3

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

God asks us that same question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  The logical answer is “no.”  Old dead dry bones do not get up.

Ezekiel responded, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  

God is asking Ezekiel a rhetorical question.  God can bring life to anything, even the areas of death in our lives. Can these bones live? Ezekiel knew and trusted God.  He knew it was up to God.

We could benefit from having the same level of faith and trust in God like Ezekiel, in the face of the greatest discouragements, we need not doubt God.

When God asks if he can resurrect your own dry bones, the lost hopes, promises, and dreams, don’t say “no.”  You have to give God room for a miracle. In our own world and ability the answer is “no,” but with God, the least response we can have is “you alone know.”  

Do you trust God or only what you can see?

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 

God is calling Ezekiel to prophesy or declare the word of the LORD. Ezekiel probably felt a little crazy talking to bones but he did. 

Hear the word of the LORD – God’s Word is life-giving. The Spirit uses God’s Word to bring life. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Don’t lie to the bones. Don’t lie to the dead places in your life, the hurts, wounds and lost promises. Call them what they are.  The world tells us to lie or cover up the truth about our lives so that no one knows or can see it.  God calls us to be open and honest with him as well as with each other.

Yes, we are to exercise our faith and believe for the miraculous to be released in our lives, but to do that we have to be willing to war within ourselves and the enemy, contend with God and speak life. We can’t lie to ourselves and others if we want to see the miraculous take place in our lives. 

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath (ruach) enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath (ruach) in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ruach means “the breath of God, the Spirit of God.”  If you notice, God repeats the phrase “breath – ruach.”  When God repeats something it is the most important part of the passage. 

God is speaking his promise of life and resurrection of the dry dead places.  God delights in putting things together in our lives to bring forth life.  If you allow God to work, like the tendons in your body that connect bones and muscles together, He will use the events of your life to link you to him and each other.

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, 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 (ruach) in them.

Ezekiel prophesied! He spoke! He spoke the LORD’s words and not his own.  He did not speak the words of the world, the world’s sounds. 

And as he prophesied there was a rattling sound!  All the pieces of the brokenness were starting to come together.

There will come a “rattling” in your life when you start speaking truth and the word of God in your life.  You will hear a rattling of the broken pieces of your life coming together. Be patient and wait for it.  There will come a “rattling.”

And the bones came together and flesh came upon them but there was no breath (ruach) or life in them.

Who told Ezekiel that there would be breath in them?  God. He even repeated it, but still, there was no breath in them. Whose fault is it that there is no breath in them? 

God does not want you to focus on whose fault it is. When you think about the fault you are concentrating on the latter, the past. He wants you to acknowledge it, connect with it but not stay there, dwelling on it. God wants you to focus on the vision.  

Ruach is translated the violent exhale, a prophetic spirit or the Spirit of God (pneuma) the Holy Spirit, and inspired, excited state of prophecy, imparting a war-like energy and executive administrative power.”

The breath of God, the Holy Spirit not only brings a warlike energy but also an executive administrative power.  Something that is controlled and targeted. That is what makes it war-like. Otherwise, it is a riot. That is the difference between a battle and a riot.  In a riot, everyone is fighting and no one is in control. In a battle, everyone is targeted towards one enemy with a commander.

Without the breath of God, you have perfectly good bodies but they are not moving. They are missing the ruach, the breath.

Unfortunately, this is the place where most of us stop the healing process. A perfectly good body without breath.  We have to honestly look at our pain and wounds.  But you say, “LORD, do you know how hard I have tried to forget what the pain felt like!  Now you are showing it to me and it is still dead!”

Dr. Phil says, “You can’t heal what you can’t feel.”  But, I believe that we do not have to spend a lot of time looking at the pain.  We acknowledge it, engage with it and get out.  You don’t have to live with the wounds of the past and the dry bones of your hopes, dreams, and visions.

So prophesy that the Spirit of God will come into the dead places.  Speak life into those places!

God is telling Ezekiel to prophesy to the unfulfilled prophecies or promises.  God is saying, prophesy breath (ruach) to the Holy Spirit (pneuma).  

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Prophesy to “these slain.”  Slain?  These are not natural deaths, not natural causes.  These were kills. This was a bunch of kills.  This is a defeated army we are talking about. There were so many that there was no one left to bury the dead.

God says, “breath to the ruach and tell it to live.”

When he spoke the life came back into them and they were enlivened as a vast army.

As I spoke life to the dry bones in my life, the dead things, hopes, and dreams that I had lost, even caused by my own sin, confronted them, life came back into my life through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

When we do this as a community, the Body of Christ, we will rise up on our feet and become a vast army.  A Holy Spirit filled body that can overthrow the enemy!  You can rise up into the destiny that God has placed in you from before you were born.

When life comes into you, you can rise up to fight, saying to the LORD, “Give me the orders I’ve been waiting for!”

Now, what did Ezekiel have to do? He had to prophesy to the prophecy! He prophesied, he declared to the Word of God that which was promised. 

We have to speak to the unfulfilled promises that we put on the shelf. Say to your hurts, your brokenness, your unfilled promises, say to the dry bones, “LIVE!” 

Say to the dry dead bones, the slain stuff, those things that were so painful that you could not even bury them.  Speak to the spoken word. Speak life to these things through the Holy Spirit.

This is a new beginning season.  A time for those things that have died to be spoken to with a warlike energy, an executive power, to see them come, even though they were dry bones.

3 Key Points:

My vision is nothing but limited, sad, dry and dead.

It is when you look at your life and all you see is a limited, sad, dry and dead vision you are cut off from prospering.  When all you can see is sorrow, dried up potential, promises unfulfilled, and death in your life, don’t lie or cover it up.

God sees so much more.  God’s vision for you is different, unlimited – he sees through the lies of what you can’t do. He sees who you truly are in Christ, what you can be and what you can do.  He sees your true destiny!

His vision for you is unlimited! It is hope and healing. He does not put tendons, muscles, and skin on the dry bones just to leave it dead.  God has a plan and vision for you. For life and living!

All I can do for you today is to bring you to the place of understanding that what you see and what God sees is totally different.

It is time for you to prophesy!  It is time for you to look at the dry dead bones of the brokenness of your life and prophesy!

Sometimes we need others to prophesy and speak life to us.

Sometimes we are in such a dead, dry place that we need others to prophesy and speak life to us until we are able to speak life for ourselves.  That is one reason it is so critical to not lie, pretend or hide behind the façade that everything is great when we are dry. 

I have a dear friend, Bill, of over 25 years.  He has spoken life over and into me numerous times over the years. About six years ago I went through a very dark time.  Much of my life felt like dry, dead bones.  God was doing great things through the counseling ministry but I woke up every morning thinking, today is going to be the day that it all falls apart.  Things are going too good. This blessing cannot be real, it can’t last.  I was certain that my sin would cause destruction to the ministry.  I believed the lie and it was bringing death to my hopes, dreams, and visions. I saw it as unfulfilled promises.

The voices in my head that spoke of self-condemnation, fear, and rejection and at times felt overwhelming.  It was during that time that I needed someone who I respected and trusted to speak to the dead, dry bones, “Life!” To prophesy breath into my dry soul.

See Bill was not afraid to speak life because Bill was counting on God and not me.  The ministry was God’s, not mine. God was saying over and over, “I built it, I’m not about to let you kill it.”

The outcome was a prosperous ministry seeing God heal and transform lives every day.

You need that person in your life.

When God’s breath is spoken into your life, your life is powerful, explosive and miraculous.

The explosions you experience are behind you not in front of you.  Because they are behind you, they propel you, launching you. The launch begins to break through the gravity that held you back. 

When you break through the pull of gravity, all that energy that held you back, the destruction in your life, the dry dead bones, bring freedom.  That which held you down is gone and now there is freedom.

My life became miraculous!  I could never do it on my own.  When you get to the edge of what God wants to do in your life, let him breathe life into your dry bones.  Take a leap of faith and step off the cliff.  The miraculous will occur and you will be free and alive.

Speak Come Alive.

Speak, “Come alive!” Speak life to the unfulfilled promises.  

Ministry time

You may be wondering how do I speak life when I feel so dead and dry? How do I claim back the unfulfilled promises?

Repentance

It begins with repentance and asking God to cause your heart to beat again. To change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 reads, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” 

Allow the Holy Spirit to help you begin to feel again.

“LORD, I’m sorry for my sins. I’m sorry for not trusting you and trying to do life on my own, only to find myself dry and dead.  Holy Spirit breathe your life into my dead, dry bones.”

Begin to feel

Give the LORD permission to breathe life into your emotions that you may begin to feel.  When we are dry, we cut off our emotions and we stop feeling.  And if we do feel something it is usually condemnation and defeat.  You can’t heal what you don’t feel.

The great thing about allowing the Holy Spirit to breathe life into your emotions and the areas of pain and woundedness is that he never intends for you to stay in that place long.  Feeling is a walk through the pain and woundedness. It is only for a short time, sometimes just minutes.  It is the doorway to the breath of life.  

“Holy Spirit, I give you permission to breathe life into my feelings and emotions.  Bring life so that I may be healed. Transform my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.”

Prophesy and speak life

Ask God to show you what in your life has been slain? What is that thing or things that you knew God promised that you never saw come to pass, that you put to the side and had to move on?  

Begin to speak life.  Speak to that thing, “Come Alive!”  

“Speak to your dry bones, ‘Hear the word of the LORD! The LORD declares that he will attach the dry bones in my weary mind, body, and emotions together and he will breathe life into them. To the promises unfulfilled, the LORD will open the graves and restore them. LORD, I speak breath, life through the Holy Spirit that I will live and that which you have promised will rise up as a vast army. Come alive in Jesus name.”  

The best place to begin is to declare your standing and identity in Christ.  Regardless of how you view yourself, when you begin to declare the truth of your standing in Christ, you will begin to be healed and transformed.

I use a simple exercise I call the ABC attributes of Christ.  You begin by walking through the ABC’s declaring attributes of Christ.  “God you are amazing, benevolent, compassionate, devoted to me, eternal, always faithful, gracious, my hope…”

Don’t stop

This is an ongoing process of life and healing.  Don’t stop, regardless of how you feel. Like Pastor Eric taught us a few weeks ago, “Contend with the LORD.”

If you are not experiencing breakthrough connect with someone that can help you by prophesying life over your dry bones.

It begins today!

The time is now!

Please stand with me.

Play the audio clip “Your Standing in Christ” by Graham Cooke.

Invite the worship team and prayer team up to the front.

If you are dry, if you feel dead, don’t leave here without getting prayer.  God wants to set you free.


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