Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on 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 on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
When I was growing up in a small town in southern Tennessee there was a Baptist Church that put on a Haunted House during the month of October every year and used it as an opportunity to share Christ with people at the end of it. Their hope was that people would be afraid of the thought of dying without Christ and turn and trust in Him (not sure if I agree with that line of thinking but that’s another thought for another day). The Haunted house was meant to actually take the haunt out of the thought of dying.
In Ezekiel 37 the Lord took Ezekiel in a vision to a valley of dry bones. It was a desert place full of skeletons. Sounds a little scary doesn’t it? However, in that valley the Lord unhaunted the house, he brought to life those dry bones and raised them up as an army for him, which was symbolic of what He’s going to do with the people of God in the last days when He comes again. In Ephesians 2 it says we are dead in sin apart from Christ. We are like the dry bones laid in the valley, no life and no hope. But, after hearing the message of the gospel and being drawn by the Holy Spirit, when we respond in repentance and faith we are brought to life, born again, by the Holy Spirit of God. God unhaunts the house. He takes the haunt of hell away from us so that fear and death are no longer master over us.
For those of us who have experienced resurrection life in Christ, we are now called to invite others to Christ so that God can take away the haunt of death from them also. How do we do that? In God’s vision to Ezekiel we see how.
- PROCEED TO THE VALLEY
Ezekiel couldn’t prophesy life to dead bones until he was in the valley of dry bones. It’s easy to stay in our holy huddles, sanctified services, pious programs, and gospel groups as believers, but we are also called to go to the valley of dry bones. If I’m not ever intentionally around those who need Christ’s salvation then I can’t lead anyone to Christ. So, talk to that co-worker. Talk to that family member. Just walk across the street and talk to that neighbor. Get out and serve in the community. Get to know people. Proceed to the valley.
- PREACH GOD’S MESSAGE
God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones in the vision. This was a call to preach the gospel message to the dry bones of Israel. People cannot trust in Christ until they hear the good news of redemption. We are great sinners, separated from God, and we cannot save ourselves. We are desperately hopeless. But, Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on flesh and came and died for our sins. He took our punishment on the cross, paid our debt. After being buried, He rose from the grave on the third day. Only those who turn from sin and put their complete trust in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will receive new life. The world needs to hear this message.
- PRAY FOR THE LOST
J.D. Greear once asked, “If God answered all your prayers this week would anyone else’s life be changed besides your own?” What a convicting question. The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath. The breath is symbolic for the Holy Spirit, and when we pray we are asking the Holy Spirit of God to fill us and to save others. So, who are you praying for that he or she would be saved?
The Lord is in the business of unhaunting the house, taking the fear out of death. The thought of people going to an eternal hell should move us to compassion and courage. Jesus has defeated sin, death, the devil, and the grave. The world needs to hear this so that they might receive new life. Today, let’s proceed to the valley, let’s preach, and let’s pray. God will raise up an army of witnesses for His glory if we will be faithful.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, thank you for casting out all of my fear with Your perfect love. I know that I don’t have to be afraid anymore. However, there are many all around me every day who are dead in sin. Oh Lord, give them eternal life through me. Use me today as a witness for You Lord. In Jesus name, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.