***Please read to the end. I know it’s long but i really had to get everything out in one post in order not to loose the message***.
This message has been on my heart for few months now and for some reason i just didn’t write about it. My journey to work everyday includes (35mins ish) walk which i enjoy doing because i use this time to do a lot of reflections, meditations and prayers. I was coming back from work one evening and i was meditating on the story of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37) and my God! The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to a new understanding of that scripture. It was deep and relatable and it got me really excited.
Yesterday in church, our pastor mentioned Ezekiel 37 and my spirit was greatly stirred. I got home late and as i was thinking about a post for today, i felt this will be good especially since we are at the point in the year when we all are setting goals and want to do better.
Ezekiel 37:1-10 in context is about the children of Israel. The dry bones represent the people’s spiritually dead condition. In this vision God was showing to Ezekiel how He was going to restore the children of Israel.
One thing i love about the bible is that it is old but forever new. You can read the same scripture 5 times and have 5 different revelations. I think this is why i personally don’t find the bible boring.
So what did God show me?
In our lives we all have dry bones. Areas that look dead, challenges of life that try to taunt our faith and keep us in the captivity of fear. This scripture actually gives us steps to overcome these challenges.
Step 1. Acknowledgment
Verse 1: The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones.
God took Ezekiel to the place where the problem was. He didn’t address the issue from afar. Ezekiel came face to face with the reality of the situation of the children of Israel. We need to come in terms with our pain and the reality of our situation. This isn’t the same as allowing it’s thought consume our mind. Denying there is a problem, isn’t the best way to solve it. Don’t ignore the problem.
Step 2. Evaluation
Verse 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.
Notice how the above verse says “He led me all around“. God could have ignored this step in the process but i feel He did it because Ezekiel needed to how how deep this issue was. I think this is a great point. Before praying, have you taken the time to evaluate that situation? Where has it spread to? What is the root cause? Who has it affected? How long has it been going on for? Is it in a particular pattern? Has it happened to any family member? Does it come in a particular season? Do you find that a problem comes up that requires you to spend money unnecessarily every time you’ve been able to save up some money? Is there a trend of miscarriage, broken marriages, delays etc in your family? Evaluation gives you a good insight into the challenge so you know how to fight back. It isn’t a waste of time.
Another thing it does is that it makes us understand the complexity of situations and realise our need for supernatural intervention. Evaluation is what stirs our heart into prayer. It is what makes us angry in the spirit and say enough is enough! When you don’t evaluate, you fight aimlessly.
Step 3: Submission
Verse 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.”
After realsiing how bad the situation was with the children of Israel, Ezekiel’s heart was overwhelmed (in a good way if i could dare say). I have heard this verse being used to point out a weakness in Ezekiel. People argue that He should have acted in faith and said “yes” knowing fully well he was with God who can do all things. That could be a strong case against him. But personally i love his response because it showed the human nature of Ezekiel. God loves it when we expose our vulnerability before Him. Shout all you can! Preach all you can! The truth is that we all experience that moment in time when even though we know we have God on our side, we still say “You alone know God!”. I can say this because i have walked this part several times and i have met many who are honest enough to admit they have too.
Every major encounter i have had with God has been in moments when i was completely broken and vulnerable. Times when i told Him i just didn’t know how i felt. Moments when even though i know He cared, i still didn’t know why He wouldn’t fix my situation urgently. Times when i couldn’t understand why i was always at the back of the queue on His list. Those moments i don’t have the strength to say “I know it will happen” and all i could say was to whisper “you alone know the answer to that.”
As i write this, i am reminded of the bible verse that says “My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. Vulnerability in His presence! Beautiful moments!
I also see Ezekiel’s response as Him acknowledging the sovereignty of God. It’s a beautiful picture of humanity submitting to the sovereignty of divinity. Only God indeed knew if they would live. So maybe we need to stop being harsh on brother Ezekiel as he was just a human like us.
4. Listen to what God has to say
Verse 4-6: 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.’”
Gosh! If only we would just listen! Sometimes we (including me) spend so much time evaluating and analyzing our problem and then spend even more time talking about them that we miss what God is telling us. What is God telling you to prophesy? Yes you had a dream but what is the interpretation? Yes that vision or idea was a God thing but do you have clarity on how He wants you to execute it? If you read the above verse carefully, you will notice that God told him what to say. The instruction was clear. Oh how much time we would save ourselves if we will just hush and get the full instruction. I remember a time we bought a new wardrobe and my husband decided he could put it together by just glancing through the pages. Not taking time to read instructions properly caused him so much time which led to him being stressed in the end. Maybe the stress we have isn’t from anything else. It is because we are too fast.
5: Speak His word and keep things private.
Verse 7-8: 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. 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.
I love the first line of the above. “So i spoke this message, just as he told me”. He didn’t add to it or subtract from it. He didn’t dilute it. You might realise that at this point Ezekiel’s confidence has grown because he has received a word from God. Yes! That is what happens. When we expose our vulnerability before God, He gives us encounters and words that we can run with. These words usually in form of instructions helps us to target the issues better. He was no longer beating round the bush. He knew what to say and he spoke it boldly.
And as he spoke, there was a rattling. I know this post is becoming very long but please read to the end because it will save you from a lot of trouble. This is the part that the Holy Spirit really focused on as He was helping me understand this scripture.
“there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 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.”
As he spoke something was happening and he could see the signs. Now remember how bad this situation was. There was every reason for him to get excited and carried away. But he wasn’t because the miracle was not complete. We see that because it says in the last line of the above bible verse that although they had skin covering the bones, they still had no breath in them. Life is characterized by breath. No matter how beautiful a person is, s/he is pronounced dead once there is no breath.
This is where we have to be very careful. Many people are walking about with still birthed miracles because they have mistook the rattling for the miracle. The rattling isn’t the miracle. It is a sign that something is happening. Until a baby is fully developed and birthed, that baby stays in the womb. This is for a reason. The external factors are too harsh for the baby to thrive. This is why when a baby is born prematurely, that baby is confined to a place that has been designed to aid growth and development. You don’t give a premature baby to a mother to take home because that baby risk being infected and most likely die.
When we see signs of a possible miracle, we get too excited and we expose that miracle to death by;
Being complacent – “Oh it’s getting better. I will stop fasting and praying. Oh things are a lot easier now; i think i can stop being committed to God”. Even though we don’t say this verbally, our actions actually do.
Telling everyone – Everyone isn’t allowed to go rub a baby in the incubator. Your miracle is still in the incubator. Yes, you can see signs of the book deal, contract being signed, etc., but until it is signed, it still isn’t yours. Yes i have faith and i understand faith. But many have experienced miscarriages, still births and early death of their miracles because they expose it too soon. Hush and nurture your miracle! Let it be ripe and have it with you before you let the world know. Stop giving access to your fragile miracle and letting people contaminate it. A lot of people are fighting and doing fasting and prayers for problems that could have been avoided if only they could just zip their mouths. In this age of social media, it shocks me how people no longer have any sense of secrecy and privacy. You don’t need to post everything, show everything, announce everything. Wait! It isn’t yours, until it is in your possession.
Of course there are certain people you can tell but i hope you understand what i am trying to say.
6. Acknowledge your miracle
In verse 10, Ezekiel acknowledged what happened and described it as a great army. This part needs no explanation because we are very good at it just that we do it prematurely and without wisdom.
Gosh there is so much to say but i must leave it here as by the end of this post i would have exceeded 2000 words. However, it’s worth it.
I pray this year, we have the discipline to acknowledge our situation, evaluate them, submit to God’s will, listen to what He says, speak God’s word and let our miracles mature before we expose them to the world.
I hope you find this helpful and useful.