The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:1-6 NIV)
This Biblical event is about a group of people who have lost hope, people who have lost possession of things promised to them. God, himself, was quick to point this out, “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ (Ref. Ezekiel 37:11 NIV)
Immediately, it seems to stick out from this text that we must all learn; one must be careful with what THEY SAY.
Who are they? Because “they” say a lot. We’ve all been through it. Someone brings the news to us packaged well within the jargon of gossip, delivering something else that “they” have said. In this passage, God himself called out the “they-sayers.” And, He gives His rebuttal. God has found a man willing to take them on, and revival is about to happen.
In Ezekiel 37, many commentators believe this valley full of bones was positioned at the location of an ancient battlefield. For this reason, it is a valley that doesn’t just symbolize DEFEAT, this valley is FILLED with it.
Beyond the reality of defeat, we learn that DISHONOR has occurred in this place because burial practices were not followed. Likewise, anywhere DEATH resides, DECAY also inhabits.
Envision the scene. DEFEAT, DISHONOR, DECAY, and DEATH lay collectively in a heap, drying out in stench-filled air.
This valley is not the type of place that any of us wish to go. Yet, God SENDS Ezekiel there. It makes me wonder, have you ever been SENT where others didn’t want to go? To arrive in such a place as the one described by Ezekiel is to become sure that one has the wrong address.
But, we must consider, if God is sending you where others are running away from, then there is probably something He desires for you to DO or SAY or BOTH -- in that specific place.
For Ezekiel, it all starts when he begins to prophesy. In other words, he begins to SPEAK LIFE.
Here are the events as they unfold, “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.” (Ref. Ezekiel 37:7 NIV)
1) The first thing that happens is a REFORMATION.
A lot of noise and movement surrounds the REFORMATION. But not just any action, things were being put in ORDER.
Look at what happens next:
Ezekiel 37:10 NIV So I prophesied (again) as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
2) The second thing that happens is REVIVAL.
Breath re-entered death, and resurrection took place. God performed spiritual CPR.
3) The third thing that happens is RESTORATION.
That which lay dead as a dry, defeated, dishonored, decaying dead body became resurrected as an exceedingly great army.
What is the bottom line of this entire evaluation? “They” say a lot of things, but if God can find someone who will speak what Heaven is saying, then the enemy can not win. Reformation, Revival, and Restoration are on the other side of obedience. And, this truth reigns, even if defeat, dishonor, death, and decay have filled your valley-like experience up to this point!
Ezekiel had a specific response to being assigned to a place no one wanted to go. He became an agent of change with the proclamation of promises that had been birthed in his times of prayer and worship. Ezekiel spoke as the Spirit gave utterance, and a valley that held a dead body soon served as a command station for an exceedingly great army -- REFORMED, REVIVED, and RESTORED!