Not a breath of air stirred in the forsaken valley as the cruel sun baked the parched ground with burning rays. There was no movement or sound to be heard except the occasional call of the large black scavengers that circled overhead looking for one last supper. When none was to be found they flew on searching for another place to get their fill.
Ezekiel 37:10. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceeding great army.
Ezekiel considered how he had happened upon this barren forgotten place – it was the hand of the Lord who had placed him there. As he surveyed the hidden valley, he saw that it was full of dead, dry bones. What devastating battle had taken place here so many years ago? Who were these people and how long had they lay here so long forgotten? In the deafening silence Ezekiel heard a voice, “Son of man, can these bones live?” He answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again he heard the voice, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.'”
Ezekiel spoke the words and cocked his ear to listen. A slight rattling sound caught his attention and he turned his head to look. To his surprise the dry bones began to come together, each bone to its neighboring bone until a large body of skeletons filled the valley. Ezekiel held his breath in wonder as he watched sinewy muscle tissue attach itself to the frame and flesh grow over newly formed bodies.
Though Ezekiel was amazed at this recreation of a mighty army, there was something missing. Each of the soldiers stared ahead lifelessly like a battalion of wax warriors – not a breath of life stirred within them. But then the voice came again, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”” Ezekiel did as he was commanded and a gust of wind blew through the valley bringing life to the inanimate infantry. Immediately the sound of shouts and noise reverberated through the canyon. An exceedingly great army had been restored.
What did all this mean? God spoke again to Ezekiel and revealed that the dry bones were the whole house of Israel. Since being taken into captivity the people of the nation had all but given up hope of being restored to their own land. They had been completely cut off from all that they loved and desired, but through this vision God gave them a message of promise. He would “open their graves” and bring them back again to their own land, and when He did then they would recognize that He is the Lord who has spoken and done it.
What about the army of the Lord today? There is a spiritual battle going on all around us, but where are the soldiers? When the church doors are opened do you see troops preparing for battle or lifeless corpses staring ahead with unseeing eyes and closed ears? Where is the life? Where is the Spirit of God?
Shhh! Listen! I hear the Holy Spirit wind stirring. Wake up, army! There is a battle to be fought. Stand up, put on God’s armor, and fight in the power of the Lord!