Do you ever feel as if you are living in a spiritual version of Death Valley? The heat is continually being turned up, and you feel as if you are being consumed to the point that there is almost no life or motivation left in you. You thought you were in the right place, but it doesn’t feel right anymore. The sun beats mercilessly down and saps your energy. You feel as good as dead and cannot escape from the lethargy and futility of your situation.
Ezekiel describes a similar scene as he observes the valley of dry bones. Facing a valley full of very dry bones, Ezekiel is not certain that even God can make those bones live (verse 3). God then asks Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones. Ezekiel probably wonders why God doesn’t just do it Himself, since He knows what He plans to do anyway! However, God instructs Ezekiel regarding the specific words to speak. Ezekiel is told to command the bones to hear the word of the Lord. He proclaims what God will do for those bones: make breath enter them, make them come to life, attach tendons to them, make flesh and skin cover them, put breath in them, and cause them to come to life. Ezekiel obeys and proclaims the words God commanded him to proclaim. While he is speaking those words, the bones come together; tendons, flesh, and skin appear. However, no breath is yet in those bones. The Lord then instructs Ezekiel to command the breath to enter the dead, so that they may live. When Ezekiel speaks to the breath, the people all come to life and stand up as an entire army (verses 4-10). God then explains to Ezekiel that the dry bones were the bones of His chosen people whose bones were dried up and whose hope was cut off. God, however, does not leave them in a condition of death and hopelessness: He brings them out of their graves! He takes them out of the place of death and hopelessness. He puts His Spirit of life in them and establishes them in their own land (verses 11-14).
When we feel our strength is sapped and our hope cut off, when we are languishing in Death Valley, we can call upon God to instruct us how to speak life to us in our dead places. He is Lord over the dry bones, the lifelessness, and the inertia that so often paralyze us. He is Lord of His Kingdom purposes and of His very Breath in us. He will stoke the Breath of His Life in us and fan us into flame again. He will cause our desert places to blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1-2). Moreover, we will realize that we are not alone in a dry place, but that God is raising up His army and establishing us in a strategic position in His ranks! May His Life and Presence rise up powerfully in us and position us to fulfill His purposes!