Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14
The book of Ezekiel is a very interesting book. Ezekiel was a prophet of God who received some deep revelations about God’s glory, power and love. When reading the book of Ezekiel, we need to ask God to open our eyes to wondrous things in His Word or we may miss the important message God wants to pass across to us.
Today as we look at one of the revelations of Ezekiel “The Valley of Dry Bones”, I pray the Lord opens our eyes to wondrous things in His Word. This inspiring revelation of the power, love and glory of God, will give us a better appreciation of God’s power to restore dry or dead situations. And if our faith is wavering, our faith in God will be strengthened today.
The central message behind the account of the Valley of Dry Bones is that God has the power to bring back to life whatever is dead; God can solve or turn hopeless situations around. Ezekiel 37:7 helps us to understand how bad, how hopeless the situation of the dry bones was. These bones weren’t the skeleton of one person in one place. But bones of several people that had broken and scattered all over the valley. For a skeleton to come back to life is a big miracle on its own not to talk of getting the scattered bones of so many people to first come back together to form each person’s skeleton, before placing back the flesh of each person. But our Mighty God was able to do this. The power of God that was able to find all the scattered bones of those in the valley and put them back together, will gather and put back together everything that has scattered and broken in your life. My prayer for every one of us is that whatever is dead or dying in our lives, the Almighty God will bring back to life. The God that can repair the irreparable will repair the irreparable in your life. The God that can reverse the irreversible will reverse the irreversible in your life. The God that can make the impossible possible, will do the humanly impossible in your life.
Something Happens When God Turns His Face to You
A lot of things were not right in the valley of dry bones. A lot of things had gone wrong in that valley. A lot had been lost in the valley of dry bones. But the day God turned His face towards that valley, everything changed. Restoration took place. If you are in any valley, the Lord will turn His face towards that valley and the power of God will bring you out of that valley, no matter how dark it is, no matter how deep it is, no matter how long you have been in that valley.
The starting point to experiencing restoration is for God to turn His face towards you, is for God to be interested in your situation (Numbers 6:26). It was because God was interested in the valley of dry bones that He took Ezekiel there. It was because God was concerned about the state of the dry bones that He asked Ezekiel about them (Ezekiel 37:1-3). The day the God of Restoration took interest in the valley of dry bones, the day the Lord turned His face to the valley, the name of that valley changed, the name they had used to tag the bones changed. Your story will change today. Every negative name people have used to tag you will be taken away from you today by the God of Restoration. That tag of dryness (dry and dead womb, dry and dead marriage, dry and dead business, dry and dead ministry) is dropping today from your life.
The bones had been in that valley for a long time. As far as people were concerned, those bones were a closed chapter. Nobody had said anything about them, nobody had done anything about them, nobody was interested in them. But the One whose opinion matters the most, the One whose opinion counteracts the opinion of everyone else, hadn’t given up on those dry bones. When it looked like nothing good could ever come out of those dry bones, God was able to bring something good out of the worst of situations. Simply because He was interested, simply because He turned His face or His attention on the valley of dry bones.
It doesn’t matter if nobody knows you, nobody understands what you are going through, nobody is doing anything about your situation. What matters; what you should be concerned about is this: the One that can bring dry bones back to life, the One that can do what people say is impossible, the One that can in one day restore all the canker worms and caterpillars have stolen, is He interested in my situation? Are His eyes on me? Has He turned His face towards me? I tell you, if that is all you have, you have what it takes to experience a major breakthrough. You have what it takes to be a recipient of God’s miracle working power.
True Restoration Comes From God
If all you have are several promises from people that they will help you or a long list of highly placed people who have shown interest in you; in your business or your proposal, I tell you, with all of that, nothing may change in your life. It may appear like you are at the edge of a major breakthrough, yet nothing may happen. Have you seen a beautiful looking lady that several guys are in interested in her and want to get close to her yet she’s still single? Or several guys have promised her marriage yet she’s still single. People can be interested in you, people can make promises to you and nothing comes out of it. But God can’t be interested in you and nothing comes out of it. God can’t make a promise to you and nothing changes about you. One promise from God is more powerful and carries more weight than 1000 promises from people. This was why when God asked Ezekiel “Son of man can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3), Ezekiel threw the question back to God. The statement by Ezekiel “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3) meant so much. It meant:
– Sovereign Lord, you alone have the power to help these bones. You alone know how these bones can live.
– Sovereign Lord, you alone can change seasons from dry and barren to fruitful and flourishing. You alone can change the time and season of these dry bones (Daniel 2:21). You have a time and season for everything and everyone. If you Lord say yes, this is their season, this is their time, then it is settled. The dry bones will rise again.
– Sovereign Lord, I don’t want to make empty promises and assurances to these bones. I can promise them that they will live, but if I don’t have your backing, if heaven has not decided to help these bones, if your face isn’t turned to these bones, these bones can’t come back to life, they can’t be restored.
– Sovereign Lord, you have the answer to every question, the solution to every problem. Answers that highly skilled, educated and knowledgeable people can’t provide about these dry bones, only you have the answer.
– Sovereign Lord, true restoration comes from you. You are the one that gives life and takes life away. You are the One that can raise one and bring another down. You are the one that can do the humanly impossible. You are the God of restoration.
The question God asked Ezekiel was a “trick question” to see if Ezekiel really knew the God he is serving, to see if Ezekiel knew God and the power of God to bring about a resurrection experience. It was a rhetorical question to know if Ezekiel understood who engineers, who is behind, who brings about true restoration. It was a test question to see the kind of heart and spirit Ezekiel had.
The moment Ezekiel put the restoration of the dry bones in the hands of the Sovereign Lord, a miracle began, the process of restoration began. When God asked Ezekiel if these bones could live, Ezekiel didn’t tell God yes they can live if you touch them or if you move them from this valley to a place with more air. Many times when we are in difficult, hopeless situations we are the ones actually giving God suggestions and directives on how to go about solving the problem. Naaman had a clearly mapped out way of how he wanted God to heal him of leprosy, but eventually he allowed God have his way and was healed and restored (2 Kings 5:11-14). When our minds are set as to how we want the problem solved, when we want to be the ones to determine how the miracle should be done, how the lifting should come, we are not allowing God to have His way. This attitude of God do it my way hinders true restoration.
zekiel didn’t say of course they can live. After all, I’m a highly anointed man of God. With my anointing and many years of experience, I know how to handle situations like this. Don’t worry I will handle it; I can take care of the situation. This attitude of dependence on self; I have what it takes, I have the experience, power, wisdom, knowledge, money, qualification, ability which is actually a deep seated pride, hinders true restoration. Whenever there’s a divine lifting whether it is a lifting out of a pit or valley, a lifting from the prison to the palace, a lifting from one level to a much higher level of greatness, God searches for humility (James 4:10). Ezekiel’s humble answer set the stage for a great lifting, a mighty restoration.
Ezekiel didn’t say with the network I have been able to establish, I know people who specialize in these kind of situations, they can devise ways, methods and strategies to bring these bones back to life. Ezekiel didn’t put the restoration of the bones in his hands or in the hands of any man. Who have you placed your season of restoration in? Who are you banking on to change your story and condition? Is it a prophet, an anointed man of God, an established business man, a highly placed politician or government official? This attitude of I lift my eyes unto people hinders true restoration. For as long as your eyes are on people, you delay your season of restoration, you are limiting yourself. As soon as Ezekiel turned the restoration of the dry bones over to God, the miracle began. There was no delay whatsoever. Instantly, immediately, the Lord began to release instructions that brought about their restoration.
Three Types of Restoration
What Was Restored In The Valley Of Dry Bones? We have established that you need God to be interested in your situation; you need God to turn His face to you for you to experience restoration. We have seen that restoration is about a lifting up, a moving up higher in life and you need humility to experience a divine lifting. We also established that to experience true restoration, you should look to God not man, you should focus on God not depend, hope and rely on people no matter how close they are to you, to change your situation. We also know that through some divine instructions the Lord gave Ezekiel, the dry bones came back to life.
But what exactly was restored back to the dry bones? What had they lost that God restored back to them? What was missing from their lives?
The Lord ministered to me that there were three significant types of restoration that took place in the valley of dry bones.
1. Restoration of their Spiritual Value and Relevance
The first thing that was restored was their spiritual value and relevance. Ezekiel 37:10 tells us that when the breath of God; the life of God entered into the dry bones, they stood up on their feet as a vast army. Those dry bones belonged to soldiers of God. The people that had decayed in that valley were soldiers of God. But for one reason or the other, they had stopped being an army for God. They had stopped operating as soldiers of God. They were just dry bones with no life, no power. Dry bones just lying on the floor of some valley. Dry bones that were not doing anything significant for the Kingdom, dry bones that weren’t playing any role, that weren’t making any impact whatsoever. Dry bones that had stopped being relevant.
Matthew 5:14 tells us that we are the light of the world. We are like a city that cannot be hidden. We are too important to be hidden. We are not to be hidden under a bowl or hidden in a valley. We are to give light; make impact, be relevant wherever we go.
As believers our spiritual value and relevance is to avert dangers. We see this happening in the lives of several servants of God in the Bible. Just because of Noah, his entire family was saved from the flood that took the entire world (Genesis 7:1). Just because of Abraham, Lot and his entire family were spared from the rain of burning fire that came down on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33, Genesis 19:16).
Just because of one righteous man or woman like you and I, a plane, taxi, bus or building programmed for death can be delivered from destruction and the lives of the people there spared. That is the kind of spiritual value and relevance God has given us. Dry bones in a valley can’t do this.
Our spiritual value and relevance is to be a channel of blessing wherever God places us. Just because of Joseph, Potiphar’s business prospered, things started changing and improving in Potiphar’s household and family (Genesis 39:5). Joseph’s coming to Potiphar’s house was a big blessing. Our coming into a house, family, office, church and nation is to improve things, to make things better. Dry bones can’t do this. The testimony following us should be since you married into our family, since you joined our company, since you joined our church, things have changed, there’s a lot of improvement. If this is not the testimony following us, something is wrong somewhere. We have lost our spiritual value and relevance.
Our spiritual value and relevance is to be a voice to be reckoned with, a voice to be consulted on national and important issues. Before decisions are taken in our family, neighbourhood, community and nation, the believers there are to be consulted. Because we are God’s representatives who hear from God and tell the people what God has planned or is planning to do. Our presence in a place is to keep people from groping around in darkness and confusion not knowing what to do, where to turn, what to say (Isaiah 59: 10).
Unfortunately, what we have today are believers who don’t hear from God before they act, believers who even when they hear from God are too scared to declare the mind and counsel of God. Believers who can be bribed into saying something completely different from what God has shown or told them.
I pray that in whatever way we have lost our spiritual value and relevance, there will be restoration today.
2. Restoration of their beauty and glory
It’s clear that in the state the dry bones were, there was nothing attractive or beautiful about them. They weren’t a pleasant sight to behold. Their flesh and everything else about them had dried up and gone. Their beauty and glory had dried up and gone.
In scripture, the word glory is illustrative of
– Great wealth (Genesis 31:1).
– Honour, dignity and respect (Genesis 45:13)
– An awesome manifestation of the presence of God (Exodus 16:10, Exodus 24:15-18, Exodus 40:34-35, I Kings 8:10-11, 2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
Dry, dead bones certainly don’t have any of these.
When we look at God’s promise of restoration in Joel 2:25-27, the promise is basically about God restoring these three major things. God giving us great wealth, God taking us to a level where we have abundance – “you will have plenty to eat, until you are full”. God removing every form of shame from us, God setting us free from everything that has made us lose our honour, dignity and respect. “Never again will my people be shamed”. God causing us to experience His wonders; to experience an awesome manifestation of His presence. “And you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you” (Joel 2:26). So the promise of restoration in Joel 2:25-27 is actually God saying I will restore my glory in your life.
The glory of God was restored back to the dry bones when from lifeless, ugly, rotten bones with no beauty whatsoever they stood up as an impressive and formidable great army for God. Isaiah 60:1 came to bear on those dry bones. “Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you”. When the glory of the Lord covered the dry bones, their shame was taken away. They were no longer bones to be kicked about, trampled upon and thrown away. Rather, they became an army to admire; an army with strength, honour, dignity and respect. Have people been kicking you about, trampling on you or treating you like trash? The Lord our glory and the lifter up of our heads shall restore His glory back to your life in Jesus mighty name.
3. Restoration of spiritual freshness
Ezekiel 37:2 tells us that the bones were very dry. Many believers today like those bones are very dry. When your throat is dry or a plant is dry something is needed. Water is needed. Lack of water, lack of Living Water leads to spiritual dryness (John 7:37-39). The Holy Spirit is the Living Water that keeps us fresh that keeps us from becoming dry bones. The opposite of being very dry is to be fresh. It is the fresh oil of the Holy Spirit that makes us fresh (Psalm 92:10). Those dry bones were in desperate need of fresh anointing, fresh ideas, fresh inspiration, fresh testimonies. We need to be carriers of fresh oil, fresh anointing. Yesterday’s anointing can’t solve today’s problems. What worked yesterday, what worked in the past may not work today.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is like oil that can go dry or stale. Something that is stale is no longer fresh. We have all received the anointing of God (1 John 2:20,27). But the question is what kind of anointing are you carrying today? Is it fresh anointing? Is it stale anointing?
When we do things that grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), when we continue to persist in sinful ways, in things the Spirit of God has repeatedly warned us about, we grieve Him. When the Holy Spirit in us is grieved, He begins to withdraw from us. This puts us in a spiritually dry condition. Our prayer life, service to God, relationship with God becomes dry because the Holy Spirit the One that gives life and freshness, isn’t really in what we are doing. He hasn’t completely left us, but His presence can’t really be felt in what we are doing. Like Samson we may still be doing so much, still active for God not realizing that the Holy Spirit isn’t even in what we are doing (Judges 16:20).
The more we turn away from sin, the more fresh anointing is released into our lives (Hebrews 1:9).
Apart from sin, when we don’t use the gifts God has deposited in us, the anointing we have received starts to go stale. Dormant, unused, untapped, underutilized gifts of the Holy Spirit leads to spiritual dryness. It makes you operate with a stale anointing. Water in a pond that doesn’t flow out, that just remains on one spot can become stale. What God has deposited in you must be continuously flowing out to bless others so you don’t become stale, so you are not gradually drying up.
Bones that have dried up because of sin, bones that have dried up as a result of not stirring up and using the gift God had put in them, need the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit to enter into them so that they can come back to life, so that their freshness can be restored (Ezekiel 37:5-6). They need the mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit to be released on them so they can rise again, so they can regain their freshness (Ezekiel 37:9).
Everything about you needs the breath of God to live, to be sustained, to make it. Psalm 104:29-30 makes us understand how important the breath of God is. Whatever does not have the breath of God dries up. Even when the bones in the valley had come back together and flesh had covered the bones, they still were not living. It wasn’t until the breath of God entered them that they came back to life. Get ready to call on God today like never before to breathe on every area of your life so that you will live and not die, so that you will be sustained, so that you can make it, so that you will not wither and dry up.
Today the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit will be released on you. The wind of the Holy Spirit will blow on your life and blow out those sins and bad habits that are drying up the anointing of God in your life. This was what happened to the dry bones. As the wind of the Holy Spirit was blowing on them, it was carrying away all those sins that had weakened and dried them up. The wind of the Holy Spirit will also blow on and revive all those buried gifts, skills and potentials in your life and you will come alive, you will arise with fresh power and anointing.
In conclusion, our lives can be likened to a cup. A cup can be so full of water that the water spills over and overflows. David spoke about his cup running over (Psalm 23:5). A cup can also lack even a drop of water. It can be empty and dry. Those dry bones were empty and dry. What is your condition today? Is there a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit running over in your life? Is your cup; your life full of the fresh power of the Holy Spirit? Or is your cup; your life empty and dry? Your cup; your life, your business, your marriage, your ministry may be empty and dry, that may be the condition you came here, the condition you have been in for a very long time, but you don’t need to go back empty and dry. You don’t need to remain in the valley of dry bones.
PHOTO CREDIT: Casey Botticello on Unsplash