Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dry Bones Come Alive

Bones in Scripture speak of vitality and vigor (Prov. 17:22). But dry bones or dead bones are brittle and snap easy. They cannot bear weight. Isaiah 58:11 refers to Israel refers to Israel condition showing us that the Lord is able to satisfy them in a drought and strengthen the bones! This passage here in Ezekiel looks forward to that coming day for Israel. Ezekiel’s primary focus and purpose was not to teach the doctrine of resurrection or revival, even though aspects of these might be there. Ezekiel’s primary purpose was concerning Israel’s restoration during the millennial reign of Christ. So let’s look at this section in Ezekiel 37 by point out seven things.

Prophetic Interpretation 
When we first look at a portion of Scripture, we see what is there, this is called observation. Next we want to learn what it means in the context, this is interpretation. Following that we look at correlation, how it fits with other scripture and then application, how does it apply to me. So with this in mind, since we have read the passage and know what is there, let’s look at the interpretation.

We have here in chapter 37 an answer to chapter 36:16-21, 26-27. In fact we see that their disobedience led to a divided heart which creates distance which results in their dryness! We can observe three stages here chapter 37 in regards to Israel and their restoration: First dry and scattered, but in 1948 we saw the beginnings of the nation being re-gathered, but there is no spiritual life. Then we see the flesh and tendons (v6), but again no real life. Lastly during the millennial they will see Him whom they rejected and will be restored by Him, this is illustrated for us in verse 9.

Predicament (37:1-3, 11) 
We read here of a valley full of bones (v1), very many and very dry (v2). We are told that these bones represent Israel! As a nation they are dry and without hope and cut off! But God in His grace is not through with them and will restore them by His power!

Preparation of the Servant (37:1-10) 
 1. Separation (37:1): “The hand of the Lord came upon me.” This expression is used at least 7 times in this book. It has the thought of God taking up a man in power, laying hold or gripping his life that there is absolute surrender, humility and brokenness on his part! 

2. Revelation (37:1): “in the Spirit of the Lord” This expression is used at least four times in Ezekiel and has the thought of empowerment or revelation! It is the ability to begin to see things from God’s perspective (1 Cor. 2:9-12). He saw a Israel from God’s perspective!

3. Confrontation (37:3): “can these bones live?” We all need to be confronted with this question!

4. Expectation (37:3) “O Lord, you know!” This is the only place where we can turn to find life!

5. Proclamation (37:4) “Prophecy to these bones” Faith comes by hearing the word of God!

6. Intercession (37:9) “Prophecy to the breath” The man God uses must be a dependent man!

7. Visitation (37:10) “breath came into them” It was not Ezekiel but the Spirit of God!

8. Transformation (37:10) “they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army”

We want to look at these things more in detail, but we see it began with one man being prepared! Where there is desperation there must be preparation! Ezekiel saw death (v1), devastation (v2) and defeat (v11). But he was willing to be used!

Prophecy (37:4) 
This is to speak forth the mind of God and to declare His Word! There are a least 7 references here to the idea of prophesying; this emphasis the importance of proclaiming the Word of God. Romans 10:17 reminds that Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! Lives will not be changed if the Word of God is not proclaimed! Stories and illustration might be fitting, but it is the Word of God that brings about faith! This is why there is such an emphasis throughout Scripture on this very point (Heb. 4:12, 2 Tim. 2:15, 3:16-17, 4:2)! It is not about method it is about the message of God’s Word! It is the power of the Word of God!

Prayer (37:9) 
In verses 7-8 we see something begins to happen, there is a rattling and the bones come together, they had form but no power and no life. This reminds us of how Scripture describes some people who profess Christ outward, but there is no life inwardly, no power (2 Tim. 3:5). Something was still missing here in our chapter, breath was missing! So Ezekiel is instructed to, “Prophesy to the breath…” This is a picture of prayer. Preaching without prayer is like clouds without water! One who proclaims the Word of the Lord ought to spend as much or more time in prayer than he does in preparing his message!

Power of the Spirit of God (37:9-10) 
This word for breath here is the word used for Spirit (Gen. 1:2). In John 3:8 we see the connection made between the wind and the Spirit. In John 6:63 we are told that it is the Spirit who gives life. Notice in verse 10 they were activated (they lived), they were animated (stood upon their feet), they were associated together (an exceedingly great army), they were assured (v12). 

When the Word of God is linked together with a dependent praying child of God, the Spirit of God is able to work mightily! The Word of God is able to give direction not simply information, but without the revelation from the Spirit of God there will be no transformation in anyone’s life! The Word of God is like a GPS system that gives general direction and the voice activation on it is like the Spirit of God who gives specific and personal direction! This leads to personal revival in our lives!

Personal Revival (37:1-14) 
Having looked at the interpretation and some application, let’s look at how this might apply to revival in our lives! 

1. A Call to Revival (v1-4) 

· It involves Divine Assistance (the hand of the LORD, the Spirit of the LORD). This involves the God of Relationship being in our lives and us enjoying that relationship!

· It involves Divine Appointment (set me down)

· It involves Divine Assessment (v3)

· It involves Divine Assignment (v4)

2. A Concern for Revival (v3)

3. A Course for Revival (v4-10)

· Begins with prayer

· Continues with the preaching of the Word

· Consummated through the Power of the Spirit of God

4. The Consequences of Revival (v11-14)

· Renewal (v11-12)

· Restoration (v13-14)







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