From Death to Life

Ezekiel 37:1–14 (AV) — 1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

What a haunting place, a place of great death, perhaps a horrible site of destruction and war. Many have lost their breath and their blood is spilled upon the ground. A terrible place where perhaps there was no one left to do the respectful thing. No one left behind, alive and capable to handle the chores of burial. I wonder what where the survivors are? Where did they go? Who is there to respect the dead?

Everybody has 206 bones that make up the skeletal structure of our frame. Multiply that by the image of the perhaps thousands that have faced death in this valley. Their bones are intermixed and spread by the weather and scavengers and looters. What a disjointed mess this valley has become!

You see, a valley is normally associated with life! It’s in the valley that we see great farms and ranches and towns that house thousands. It’s a place where we lift up our eyes to the surrounding mountain vistas! From that valley we see the sun peek out from the east and settle into the west. From those mountain tops we look to the valley and see rivers flowing – carrying life and sustenance to all. It’s in the valley where we are comforted. Yet, it’s also in the valley where we connect death, a shadow from the looming mountains that creates paralyzing fear. It’s perhaps in the narrowing channels of the mountains where the passes lead from one valley to another that the most concern exists. It’s in that narrowed channel where we are crowded into harrowing places – pressed on every side, facing dangers around every turn.

What did God have in mind when He took the prophet to this valley? I think it may have been a known place. Maybe stories have circulated about the great death that happened here. Sitting around campfires and kitchen tables, people shared its history.

Yet, God had a plan! And God had a man! Thousands of years later we unfold the complete Plan of God about going “From Death to Life.”

First, God did not send you into a valley by yourself! He carried you there By His Spirit!

You and I are never taken to places of destructions or death or struggles, without God taking us there, carried and protected by His Spirit. Why do we stress when we face challenges? He promised to “never leave us, nor forsake us” (Heb. 13:5) and there is no trial or temptation that He has not devised a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). Paul tells the church in Corinth, “…We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” (2 Cor 4:8-9). All of Job’s woes lasted only 1 year, but he was in that time period of long life – how many wonderful years did he live that we will never know about? Daniel is thrown to the lions, but just through the night.  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego) refuse to let the King’s rule change their Worship and are cast into a burning pit – probably for only a few minutes.

No matter the valley you find yourself in, you did not necessarily get there by yourself – He’s with you Into and Out of the valley.

Second, God does not put you into a place that He doesn’t give you a hint of what you are supposed to do!

The prophet sees the valley from every angle, “round about” the Spirit carries him. You see, this is something we need to grasp – we must see the tragedy and trouble from every angle. I’ve often taught there are 40 sides to any story. There is no way you can understand every nuance of every issue, but when you look at a valley of death you know there are tragedies untold. God speaks to the prophet and asks for his insight to life – “Can these bones live?”

Can there be life after death? Can that which is dead come back to life through no power of their own? Can you prophesy to a place to bring about life? Can you speak to your family and home, or neighborhood or community or city? Can you speak to the lost and the dead that are around you every day? Can you REVIVE those that God puts into your pathway? You can if you do what God says to do!

Before we can be effective in prophesying life to the dead, we must be alive ourselves!

We need to be revived before we focus on reviving others! Perhaps this reviving comes as a result of being taken to another’s place of death. Webster’s dictionary defines revival as a return to life from death. Revival brings something back to life that is either now dead or seemingly dead. Revival is not for something that never lived at all. That’s why only God’s people can experience a spiritual revival.

Peter was instructed in his vision to “rise, slay and eat” that which was let down from heaven in a net (Acts 10). It went totally against his upbringing and teaching. Unclean animals were in that net. Animals he had never tasted before! Yet God was specific! What he was about to be involved in was not a revival – it was a missionary journey to someone who had never been saved!

Third, not only does God take you where you need to be, He gives you the Words you Need to Speak!

Jesus tells His disciples to “…take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” (Matt 10:19)

To Ezekiel he tells him to “prophesy” – “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

When Peter stands on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, he did not whip out his computer, or book of notes, in order to know what to say – he opened his mouth and God put Words into his willingness to be used!

This is what happens when we are filled with His Spirit and speak with other tongues – it’s our willingness to be a pliable instrument and speak without trying to control His Spirit working through us.

Fourth, be ready for the miracle of God doing what He says He will do!

How can these bones “hear” without the outward protuberances of skin and cartilage to cup the sound? How can they hear without ears?

  • Quit doubting God! He devises means to recover even water spilled upon the ground that man has no power over (2 Sam 14:14).
  • Quit doubting God! He knows that to command Lazarus to come forth will work even when people are complaining that he is already dead! He speaks to the sister, Martha, and says, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?“ (John 11:25) In other word, “I have the Power of Death and Life! And if you believe you shall never die! Martha, Do You Believe?”
  • Quit doubting God! He knows the ability to hear come from little bones inside our head. Bones vibrate with the sound waves and translate them into neural impulses to the brain. The only way you can hear is to have bones that are being prophesied to! The prophet speaks to the ear bones! Dead ears bones are now hearing! But, there’s no neural system to transmit, nor brain to receive – who cares? The voice of the prophet is reciting the Spoken Words of God! There is power in the Spoken Word, power in the Word of God. Even when someone is rejecting the presence and power of God, those little bones in their heads are at work Hearing the Word of God! There is Power in the Word!

Without the prophet looking for and assembling the loose bones, the bones begin to draw together – scattered pieces are finding their way to the proper location. A miracle begins to reveal itself. The noise and shaking of bones begins to be experienced. Structure begins to occur. Muscle that did not exist is being seen wrapping the bones together into a framework. Flesh is protecting the entire skeletal frame. Skin is wrapping the entire body together. Breath is flowing into those lungs. Eyes are opening up. Perhaps even their memory of death is causing them to panic and look for a way of escape. But they look around and see others that are in the same position as them and begin to realize the miracle that is taking place in their life. They hear the words of the Prophet. They know the power of God. They Know The Lord!

Fifth and final, we need to understand that those that are dead to Christ are dead for several reasons.

“Dry” has several meanings in the original language. On one hand it means “to be held captive” meaning that these bones were being held captive in some foreign state – had they been at home they would have been cared for properly. On the other hand, “dry” means to “lose one’s appetite”, the same as in Numbers 11:5-6 where they had lost their appetite to the manna because they remembered the prosperity of Egypt. These “dry” bones have lost their appetite for food that the angels desire to look into!

How does this apply? These bones represent those captive or those with lost appetite and like Jesus explained in Mark 4:18-19, they are the ones like the seed that falls among the thorns and the worries and cares of this life choke them and make them to be unfruitful. These bones represent the people of God with desires that are outside of the framework of God – worries of this life, deceitfulness of wealth, and an attraction for other than Godly things. These bones represent a life that has been infiltrated by sin and caused to become separated from God.

Church, Can these bones live? When they live they are refreshed, rebuilt, and alive anew. They are revived. But it only happens when vessels are willing to follow these truths.

  1. They are touched by the hand of the Lord (v1) – It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit (Zech 4:6)
  2. They are led by the Spirit of the Lord (v1) – Just as Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for fasting (Luke 4:1)
  3. They are fed by the Word of the Lord (v4) – As Corinth was fed by Paul, Milk first, Meat later (1 Cor 3:1)
  4. Revival happens when a man or woman of God believes and responds (v4-10) – As the psalmist writes in Ps 138:7, He revives us even in the midst of Trouble!

This is what the Church needs to hear today!

When God sends a church into a city, we are not just here to have a service and declare ourselves the body. We are here to be sent to the whole world so that new souls are won into the Kingdom – this is not a revival, this is the Great Commission to reach the Whole World with the Whole Gospel. Somewhere within this city or perhaps even your home, we are close to those who have died out to God. Perhaps there is only one person, or a small group of former believers, but I believe there are literally THOUSANDS around us who are dead, and without knowing, they are waiting a prophet to be the Voice of God to bring about revival.

Listen to me child of God, are you the prophet being taken to them by God to preach the message of Life! The Words that God gives you can bring those dead bones to life!