Ezekiel 47:1-9: As we enthrone Jesus in our midst and in our hearts individually, there begins a flow of "the river of life" from the place where He is enthroned. It fills the Church, bringing salvation, healing and equipping of the saints, then it flows out the door, into "the valleys and the seas," and it gets bigger and bigger, deeper and deeper as it goes.
Verses 8-9: "Every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live." God's plan is for Jesus to be enthroned in our hearts and lives, and in our Church, then for the Church to be filled with "the river of life," then there is a flow of that life out the door of the Church into "the valleys... the seas" of the world.
"The valleys" are the places where the needy people are: the broken and hurting people of the world.
Ezekiel 37:1-10; verses 1-2: The Lord brought Ezekiel into "the midst of the valley and it was full of bones."
This is a picture of so many places around the world today. No real life. No hope for the future. No joy of the Lord. Just dead and dry.
Verse 2: God wanted Ezekiel to "pass by them all around"; to understand their condition and "indeed they were very dry." The fact that the bones were "very dry" meant that they had been dead for a long time.
Sometimes, we encounter situations that seem hopeless, situations where it looks impossible for new life to come:
- Family members who have hardened their hearts towards us, and to the Gospel
- Places we go where there is poverty and hunger and serious law & order problems, and the people feel like it will never change
- Places where the people feel abandoned and forgotten, and see no chance of lifting themselves up
- Places where dead religion or witchcraft or the deceptions of the "New Age" philosophies have blinded the eyes of the people to the Good News and the wonderful love of God, and they even resist us and persecute us
We must "pass by all around." Get the feel for the place. Feel God's heart for the people. Pray. Ask Him to show us how to bring life.
Verse 3: When we have done that, He will begin to speak to us, to allow His life to come into that situation through us. "Son of man, can these bones live?"
Verse 4: God tells Ezekiel to begin to speak His word over this dead and lifeless situation: "Say to them O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord."
Verses 5-6: Here are the words Ezekiel speaks out over these dead bones, as he is alone in the valley, surrounded by death.
To the world it may look a little silly.
To the world, it may look silly as you and I feel God's heart for the dead and the dry places around us, and as we begin to speak with faith, of a new beginning; a new life that comes from Heaven!
"You shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."
Verse 7: As Ezekiel was still speaking "there was a noise... a rattling, and the bones came together." I bet Ezekiel lifted the volume and the intensity of his preaching now! Something was moving! Life was coming!
The preaching of the word of God caused death to be turned into life. Out of the disorder of a jumble of dry bones, order came: complete skeletons. The flesh and skin came upon the skeletons and they were complete, but they were still lying there, looking alive, "but there was no breath in them."
God told Ezekiel to keep preaching; to speak out over these complete but lifeless people: "Come... o breath and breathe on these slain that they may live" So he obeyed and then "breath came into them and they lived, and stood on their feet."
This valley of dry bones was the scene of a great military defeat. These people were killed in battle: "these slain": verse 9.
Many of the valleys of dry bones around us are filled with people who have been "slain" in the battle: their circumstances and problems have robbed them of their life:
- Relationship break-downs and family & clan crisis
- Poverty: loss of job and income
- Violence, beatings and abuse
- Disappointment through failure: school drop-outs
- Hopeless and angry
Our people have been "slain" by the circumstances of life and they need you and me to love them, to feel God's heart of love for them, and then to minister His word of life to them, bringing not only His word but the life of the fullness of the Holy Spirit to them, so they will "live"; really live!
John 5:24-25 Those who are "dead," those who are separated from God and who have no real life, can now "hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."