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.
Ephesians 6:10-11 “A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.”
Whenever you get ready to do something where you could get hurt you need to wear the right gear. Football players wear pads and helmets, soccer players wear shin guards, and volleyball players wear knee pads. Beekeepers wear special clothing to protect themselves from bee stings and astronauts wear insulated suits to shield their bodies from extreme temperatures and air pressure. If you want to be safe, you are wise to use the right clothing and equipment.
The Bible tells us that we are in a battle – one that is not fought against other humans but against Satan and his demons. Though we are assured that Christ has already won the final victory over our enemy, there are still dangerous skirmishes. Every day Satan seeks to destroy our testimony and to keep unbelievers from accepting Christ as their Savior.
God knows all the tactics of the adversary and provides us with the perfect equipment to keep us safe. The problem is that many times we do not take the initiative to wear this armor. Imagine a football player getting tackled without his pads. He would surely end up with broken bones or worse. The wise player gets suited up before entering the game. We must use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle we will be standing firm.
1. Sturdy Belt of Truth – with it you can see through Satan’s lies.
2. Body Armor of God’s Righteousness – with it you can stand against Satan’s vicious accusations.
3. Feet fitted with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace – with it you can take the Good News message to others who are dying in sin.
4. The Shield of Faith – with it you can stop the fiery arrows of doubt shot by the evil one.
5. Helmet of Salvation – with it your mind is protected from wrong thoughts.
6. Sword of the Spirit – with it you can counteract Satan’s deception with God’s Word
7. Prayer – with it you can ask God for help and wisdom at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit
The armor is all there ready to be put on. God has provided all we need. Don’t go into the battle without it!
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!