Take Time to Breathe
The following is a compilation from the work of Pastor and Author Doug Batchelor:
The book of Ezekiel was written by the prophet bearing the same name, which means "God will strengthen." A Hebrew from the tribe of Levi, he was among the elite of Judah who were captured by Nebuchadnezzar and carried away to Babylon. Ezekiel prophesied between the years 600 and 570 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophet Daniel. Some scholars believe that his reference in the very first verse of the book to "the thirtieth year" was probably an indication of his age. If so, that means Ezekiel would have been only 25 years old at the time he was forced to leave his homeland. Thirty was also the age when a priest could begin to minister (Numbers 4:3). It was at age 30 that Jesus began His ministry, Joseph began to rule over Egypt, and David began his reign.
This fascinating prophecy of dry bones in Ezekiel has something for everyone. He was speaking primarily to his fellow captives among the children of Israel. By this time in history, the 10 tribes of Israel had been so widely scattered among the surrounding nations that they seemed all but lost as a people. The tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi had just been conquered and carried away captive to Babylon. It looked as if their national identity was forever gone and they would never again return to their Promised Land. Hence, one purpose of this vision was to inspire them with hope that God would someday revive them as a nation.
In addition, this prophecy speaks about what God will do for spiritual Israel, which is the church today. An obvious theme of the vision is that God can resurrect dry bones - that He can give literal life to that which is dead and inanimate. It is a message that He can revive His people and turn them into a mighty army.
Last of all, it speaks to us individually. No matter how dried up and worthless we may feel, or how dead in trespasses and sins, God can restore us to life through His Word and Spirit. Ezekiel 37:10 says, "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." God gives them life to fight. They become an army. In the same way, God gives us spiritual life so we can become soldiers in His army. We come to the Lord, He breathes into us the breath of life, then we go out for the Lord. Zechariah 4:6 describes the battle plan, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
Ezekiel 37:1-14 is a vision of hope. It's a wonderful message that God's Word and His Spirit can bring life to any situation and to any soul, no matter how utterly dead and hopeless it might be. As a church, God can revive us and make us an army that will be part of His end-time remnant. Ezekiel 37:12-14 tells us that God's people will be raised up and brought into the Promised Land. There will be a resurrection of the righteous someday soon, and we will ultimately live in that new earth in the New Jerusalem. But even before that, the Lord wants to raise up an army of Spirit-filled people who will expand His kingdom.
Some of us do a pretty good job of covering up our dry bones. Maybe our marriages are dry and barren. Or maybe there has been a loss of vitality in our family or work relationships. Some of us have bank accounts that are like dry bones. Others have health problems. Whatever the cause, the message is that God can send new life to your dry bone situation. God can breathe vitality through His Spirit and through His Word into our lives. Pray for that revival today.