Ecclesiastes 9:4 says “anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Reading further to verse 5 and 6, we see that it is those that are living that have the opportunity to do things that will be rewarded. They are the ones that can spend their time occupying for the Lord so they can be rewarded. Once death comes in, this opportunity is gone. It therefore follows that while we have the breath of God in us, while we are still living, we should use every opportunity God gives us to occupy for Him so we can receive the rewards due to those that have spent their days occupying for the Lord; those that have made a difference for Christ. May we not live our lives in a way that on the day of reckoning, what we have to say is how I wish I had done this and that… for the Lord. Now is the time to start living for His glory, now is the time to occupy for the Lord.
In Job 27:1-4, Job said as long as I have life within me, as long as I have the breath of God in me, there are certain things I must do. As long as we have life within us, as long as we have the breath of God in us, there are certain things we must do.
THE MAIN ASSIGNMENT OR RESPONSIBILITY OF ANYONE WHO HAS BREATH IS TO PRAISE GOD
Psalm 150:6 says “let everything that has breath praise the Lord”. It didn’t say let everyone that is married or everyone that just got a visa or won a lottery praise God. It didn’t even say let everyone that is in the choir praise God. What qualifies you to give God praise is that you have breath. No wonder when the king entrusted money to his servants to occupy with, the was no mention of their age, background and marital status. All we are told is that they were servants; they were people who were living, people who had breath in them. With the breath of life, even if you are a young, old, a business man, career person, house wife, or a person that has been seeking employment for years, or a person who is single and tired of waiting, or even someone that can’t read or write, you can praise God and walls of Jericho, walls of satanic opposition and stagnation will come tumbling down. With the breath of life, even if you are blind or dumb, your feet have been tied with chains, you are going through a very difficult time, the enemy has locked you up in a prison saying you won’t move beyond this level, you can praise God and satanic prison doors will be flung wide open (Acts 16:25-26). The primary thing you need to engage in praise that can turn situations around is the breath of God.
Everyday God decides to put His breath in us is not an ordinary day. It is an opportunity to birth miracles with our praise.
So, everyday of your life that God gives you breath, use the breath of God on the inside of you to give God praise. Praise that will move mountains, praise that will send confusion to the camp of your enemies (2 Chronicles 20:22). Praise that can turn your finances around (2 Chronicles 20: 25). Praise that will lift your spirit even when there’s so much happening around you to discourage you and weigh you down (Psalm 42:11).
Praising God is a wonderful way to occupy for the Lord. Isaiah 38:18-19 makes it clear that praise is for the living. Praising God is the reason why God has given you breath, the reason why you are still living. Once death sets in, the opportunity to give God the kind of praise that can change situations in your life and generation comes to an end. So occupy your time in praise!
WITHOUT THE BREATH OF LIFE, YOU JUST FILL SPACE YOU DON’T MAKE AN IMPACT
There’s a big difference between occupying or filling a space and making an impact. Many people today are just occupying space they aren’t making an impact for God. When God created man in Genesis 1:27-28, man was given a mandate. God told man to fill the earth, but it didn’t end there. He was to subdue, rule, be in charge, be responsible, work and make an impact for God. This is an enormous responsibility and it takes the breath of God to be able to carry out this assignment.
Ezekiel 37:1-2 is a perfect illustration of just occupying space and not making an impact. We are told in this scripture of a valley that was filled with dry bones. The dry bones had occupied the whole valley. They had filled up space in the valley. In that state of dryness, even though they were occupying space in the valley, they weren’t making any impact until the breath of God entered them and they stood up as a vast army (Ezekiel 37:3-10).
The breath of God is actually the Spirit of God. In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God that prompts, spurs and enables a person to make impact for God. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus made significant impact. Acts 10:38 tells us that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power and He went around doing good.
The dry bones in Ezekiel 37 lacked the ability to go around doing good. The most they could do was fill up space in the valley. But when the breath of God entered them, it became a different story. They had the power and ability to stand up as an army for God ready and equipped to do good; ready to do exploits.
Are you occupying space or are you making an impact? In our families, office, church and nation are we just occupying space or are we making an impact? Pray this prayer: O Lord, you didn’t create me to just fill up space, I was created to make an impact. Breathe on me O Lord, fill me to overflowing with your life-giving Spirit so I can start making significant impact for your kingdom, so I can start going around doing good; so I can start affecting lives positively for you.
WITHOUT THE BREATH OF GOD, YOU LIVE BELOW YOUR GOD GIVEN POTENTIALS AND ABILITIES
Are you a floodlight meant to show case God’s glory but you are just living and existing as a candle light? Are you a lighthouse to your generation but the only light people see from you is the kind of light that comes from a lantern? Are you destined to do fireworks for the kingdom but all people see from you is a matchstick flame? You may feel that after all I’m still giving out light, does it matter the degree of light. Yes, it matters. It matters to God that the light emanating from ‘the car’ of your life and ministry is in full-beam. It matters to God that you be who He has destined and created you to be (Ephesians 2:10).
The account of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37: 1- 11 is an account of people living below their God-given potentials. The first level the bones were in was the level where they were just scattered dry bones on the floor of the valley. Later, they became bones put together to form a skeleton. Finally, they became full-fledged men who made up an army. As scattered bones on the floor of the valley, they were living below their potential. Even when the bones came together to form skeletons, they were still way below their capacity, they were still at a level below the level God wanted them to operate. It wasn’t until they stood up as an army that they were in the level or position God wanted them to operate.
You can’t be in the state of dry bones; you can’t be spiritually dry and drained and be able to attack and conquer the enemy. Dry bones can’t trample and tread on the enemy, dry bones are what people trample and tread on (Luke 10:19). This is why it is a dangerous for one to be spiritually dry. You need the breath of God; you need the Holy Spirit and power in you to overcome the enemy. Why should you be trampled on when you have the capacity to scatter, overthrow and destroy satanic plantings and kingdoms?
Do dry bones have any use? Well, skeletons are used in science classes. That’s one use of dry bones. At this level, the bones are of use but God needs more than this, God needs an army not skeletons. When Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones and their bones came together and they became skeletons, God didn’t live them in that state. Ezekiel continued prophesying to the dry bones until breath entered them and they stood up as mighty men of valour.
When a skeleton is being used in the science lab in a licensed or government approved school, no one would come and arrest the science teacher. But if someone is seen driving into his home with a skeleton in his car, he could be arrested. This means there’s a limit to where you can take a skeleton, what you can use a skeleton for. To be in a state of dryness even if it’s a state of a skeleton, there’s a limit to what God can use you to do. You can’t reach your highest potential in such as state of spiritual dryness. Without the breath of God, without you being filled with the Holy Spirit you can’t operate on the level God wants you to be. At best you would be like a skeleton being used for only science classes when God has so much more in store for you, when He wants you to occupy large territories for Him.
Satan loves seeing believers in a state of spiritual dryness because that is the state he can keep us from maximizing our God given potentials.
CAN YOU SAY THIS PRAYER: FATHER, I SURRENDER TO YOUR WAY AND GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO DO EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DO TO GET MY SPIRITUAL LIFE, MINISTRY, BUSINESS, CAREER, MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND BODY TO THE LEVEL YOU WANT IT TO BE.
God getting you to the level He wants you to be isn’t an easy road. Can you imagine how ridiculous Ezekiel would have looked speaking to the dry bones? Sometimes God may want you to do things that look foolish to get you to where you ought to be.
God getting you to the level He wants you to can’t be achieved without His Word. Ezekiel had to speak the word of God to the dry bones until they became a massive army for God. You need to keep reading and speaking the Word of God into your life to unlock your full potentials.
May the Lord remove every form of spiritual dryness in our lives that is keeping us from being the people God has destined and created us to be.
YOU NEED THE BREATH OF GOD TO STAND FIRM AND STRONG FOR THE LORD
Once the dry bones were infused with the breath of God, with the Spirit and power of God, they stood up strong and tall (Ezekiel 37:10). When you aren’t filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, it is easy to fall for the wiles, tricks and temptations of the devil. The Holy Spirit is a companion you can’t do without if you want to live in victory over sin and temptation. Galatians 5:16 says “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature”. The more you are filled with the Spirit of God, the more your desire for sinful pleasures and passions diminish.
You need the breath of God, the power of the Holy Spirit to stand firm for the Lord even when winds of afflictions and storms of life are trying to knock you down. It’s easier for a wind to blow down and scatter to pieces a skeleton than it is for a living human being. I don’t know the wind of affliction that is blowing on you right now, but my prayer for you is that you will be so saturated with the power of God that no matter the violent wind of affliction trying to weaken your faith and make you give up, you will standing firm and strong for the Lord (Psalm 16:8, Psalm 46:5, Psalm 125:1).
Can you make this confession of faith: I am filled with the power of God and I am an immovable believer. Whatever the enemy throws my way, I stand firm for the Lord. I have set the Lord before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. God is with me even in that storm and so I will not be moved, I will not give up. Trials don’t make me fall by the wayside; they make me stronger and better.
YOU NEED THE BREATH OF GOD FOR A HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION TO TURN AROUND
When God brought Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones, God asked him a question can these bones live? The state of the bones appeared so hopeless that all Ezekiel could say was you alone know (Ezekiel 37:1-3). Within the realm of human wisdom, strength and ability, it was impossible for the bones to live. This was why Ezekiel left the situation in the hands of the One who is not in any way limited and nothing is beyond His power.
There are situations we are in that the only way we can see a change is for the One who specializes in impossibilities to take over that situation. But many times we don’t take the situations to Him. We don’t allow Him take over the situation and handle it in His own way. Instead, we run all over the place, telling people about the situation and seeking their help and assistance. Only to be disappointed because there’s really nothing they can do for us or are willing to do.
When the breath of God entered the dry bones, the impossible became possible. Today, the Lord will saturate your life with the breath of God and impossible situations will come alive.
It is not only human beings that need the breath of God; that need the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 17: 25 tells us God gives men life and breath and everything else. The phrase ‘everything else’ means even a struggling business or marriage, God can give life and breath to it, God can fill with the Holy Spirit. God can give life and breath to unfulfilled dreams, damaged wombs, dead organs, abandoned projects, hopeless situations.
The breath of God brought forth an awesome testimony of the power of God in the valley of the dry bones. Giving testimonies is one way to occupy for the Lord and point people to God. The Samaritan woman by giving a testimony of what Jesus did for her was able to point people to Jesus (John 4: 39-39).
When the life and breath of God comes into ‘dry bones’ situations, they become living testimonies of His goodness; testimonies to showcase God’s glory and draw souls to Him. May the Lord give life and breath to that situation you are going through and may it become a testimony that when people hear of, they will come running to your Lord.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ivan Vranic on Unsplash