“I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them” (Ezekiel 37:8). What a tragic scene. I know of churches that have every program and strategy in place—but no life. So many churches have seminars, conferences, books, websites, podcasts and meetings for every age group and need. All of these things are designed for good—but unless God’s Spirit breathes into them, they are nothing. In fact, such things have the subtle power to rob us of the life God desires for us.
As we go through the motions of church, we are deceived into thinking we are spiritual. It may look like dry bones are hooking together, but in reality they lack the life-breath of God. I would trade 1,000 worship services and 10,000 strategies for a single breath from His Spirit. Only God can breathe life into what we do—that these dry bones might live.
“Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath’” (37:9). The Hebrew word for “breath” here is rauch, meaning the Spirit of God. Once again God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy. The first time he was to prophesy to bones, meaning people, but this second command is to prophesy to God Himself—to rauch, the Holy Spirit.
What is God saying in this verse? He is telling us that preaching to each other—articulating doctrine—is not enough. We cannot just speak to man about the things of God. We also have to speak to God about man, beseeching Him to act. God calls for men and women of faith to cry out for Him to enter their situation and change things. Only God’s Holy Spirit can bring life. Our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear, our mouths cannot speak anything of Him unless He first animates us.
When He does this, the results amaze us: “I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and [the bones] lived and stood on their feet” (37:10).
God’s breath brings us to our feet with boldness. The same thing happened in Acts 2: “Peter, standing with the eleven” (2:14). The gospel that Peter proclaimed at Pentecost was no different from the gospel he knew and now he stood up and spoke it with power from on high.
The life God is poised to breathe into us is the kind that brings dry bones alive, that brings life to a darkened, despairing environment. Out of chaos, Jesus produces life. Out of ashes, He produces beauty. And into a horrific situation that the enemy means only for destruction, Jesus breathes new life!
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon