Lately I have found myself contemplating the past, not in a those were the good old days manner but more a review of decisions, pathways and words that God had spoken to me. Specifically I have been revisiting my own personal valley of dry bones. Those things that God spoke to my heart that I have allowed to become dried up and discarded. As humans we often allow disappointment and doubt to creep into our hearts and lives and like a slithering snake it begins to choke off our source of faith. It happens when we don't see the fulfillment of a word or promise we feel that God has spoken to us. The enemy whispers that we were wrong, we didn't really hear God, or that God some how is displeased with us and that is why we have not seen it come to pass. He tells us that we have made a mistake, a wrong turn and therefore have "lost" the promise. All of these lies echo in our hearts so even if we try to move forward in our walk with Him they linger in the background like insidious vipers waiting to lash out. I have spent my life longing to know more of God, to move deeper into relationship and to understand His goodness. Recently I have been challenged that in order to do this I needed to go back to the valley of dry bones where I have allowed my understanding of Him to be twisted. When I began to allow God to reveal this place to me I was stunned. What I thought would be a small patch of dry bones was in fact a massive field. As I prayed the Lord showed me how what started as a single decision has gone on to influence a great many decisions and has affected the way I see Him. This underlying perspective on who He is has caused doubt to lie in wait to steal faith as I press into Him. Its easy to say that this skewed perspective isn't the case in our lives but I believe we are living in a time when the church needs to know who He is so our trust in Him can move us into position to influence the world around us.
Let me ask you, what do you do when you have felt like the Lord spoke something into your life and you haven't seen it come to pass? Its easy to say "I pray into it until I see it." If we are honest with ourselves often times it is more of a struggle than we are willing to admit. Most of us have these moments where God spoke something that seemed so powerful and wonderful that He was going to do in us or through us that as the fulfillment lingered we have ceased to pray into them. We sometimes say casually that it will happen "in God's timing" and while this is true we say it almost with a shrug of our shoulders and we set it on a shelf. These past weeks have challenged my spirit that I have done this very thing so many times that I have created this valley in which I, figuratively, know stand.
The good news is that God does not reveal this valley of dry bones to us as a condemnation but rather so that we can witness His true nature as He brings life to those things we thought were dead!
Ezekiel 37: 1-6
"The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
I am loving this passage because it shows me that I have an active part in seeing these bones restored to life. In fact this is, I believe, where I went wrong in the first place. So often when we hear the Lord speak something to us we receive it with great joy and then we sit and stare at it waiting for it to bloom into fullness. After a period of time we are either distracted or we turn away assuming that there is no life in the word because its not happening. The truth is we are called to prophesy over it, to speak and decree the kingdom of God over that which He has spoken. Just like Ezekiel spoke over the bones and said to "hear the word of the Lord" so we are supposed to actively engage with those things that God has given to us. As believers we are not to walk through our lives waiting for the someday of Heaven; we are called to actively engage and to impart the kingdom into the world around us.
Ezekiel 37: 7-9
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also 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 breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
In spiritually journeying to the valley of dry bones and allowing God to reveal this we allow life to come out of what was dead. Ezekiel 37: 10 says that not only did they live but they stood on their feet as an exceedingly great army. The enemy would love for those promises to falter, for the church to not realize that the fulfillment of these words is when we partner with God to stand and prophesy life over them. We can be assured that He is with us and that His plans for us will be accomplished. Isaiah 55: 11 says "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please,And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
What are the promises, and words that God spoke into your life that you have allowed to pass into the valley of dry bones? Are you willing to partner with God and prophesy over them to see an exceeding great army arise in your life?