Prophecy for problems!
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. And caused me to pass by them round about; and, behold, there were very man in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
One of the most famous visions and stories of the Old Testament the valley of dry bones, tells of a impossible situation becoming a very tangible manifestation. Ezekiel, the priest who was promoted to prophet – without his own volition, is the author of these accounts – during the years of captivity in the land of Babylon. As God had instructed and forewarned the people of Israel through the ministries of previous prophets – that he would take the children of Israel from the promised land and thus place them in the hands of foreign nations – as a sign of judgment – Ezekiel who is a victim of the circumstance – has be called by God to proclaim prophetically the temperature of the climate and the condition of his people – solely because of their disobedience. But now time has past. There is a new generation emerging in a foreign land who are unfortunately projected into a reality they had nothing to do with. It was the faults of the forefathers that brought them there. And according to the prediction of the Prophet Jeremiah, seventy years would have to pass before God would even considering a release.
And to think – we think that our little storm is too great – they had to endure a storm of correction for seventy years. Some died in the storm of correction. Others were born. But God had to be God and His word had to remain consistent and persistent regardless of the offspring that did come forth. We too can feel overwhelmed from the struggles of our parents and the problems that they faced. We can recall how their dysfunctions try to bleed over into our lives and thus perpetuate themselves within us. If your daddy was a drunk than it is more than likely you will have to fight alcohol addictions; if your momma was into multiple sexual partners – than its likely that you will have to fight fornication. We are sometimes victimize by the sins of our seniors. Those who have paved the way before us have also caused some of the errors to come forth in our lives. As it is with the new generation that was emerging from Israel’s loins even while they were in a foreign land. It became so bad – that it was almost as if the mentality became – dag – it seems like nothing is going to get better – and the proverbial question arose – When is it going to give?
Now if you take that to the next step in your Christian faith you too can sometimes loose faith. Yes faith can get displaced just like a sock from a set of socks that you need to wear with your ensemble that you’ve picked out of your closet to wear this morning. Faith can get lost. Faith can even get low. Faith can even get weak. Faith can get displaced. And when faith gets up and off its seat in your spirit – the next thing the storm will blow at is your hope. Yes! Hope is just as important as faith. Faith is at the top of the surface but it is girded by hope. The bible says:
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (1 Corinthians 13:13).
The Apostle Paul helps us out. Your faith is suppose to remain as well as hope and love. Yes the greatest of the three is love but all three are certainly necessary in their prospective places. Amen! You cannot get to faith until you first learn how to hope. Hope isn’t developed until you go through something:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:3-5).
Yeah we talk about faith but we cannot forget hope! You have to graduate from hope sometimes before you can get to faith. Ask Abraham, who Paul so eloquently explains used hope to navigate him through the storms until his faith could propel him further into his destiny:
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all….who against hope, believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. (Romans 4:16, 18).
Someone shout – HOPE! You need hope in your life just as much as you need faith. Hope is the core of faith. It is the foundation of faith. We sing a song – My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness….The word hope signifies and explains the word – might. It implies the practicing of the principle we called faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Again saints of God – you need hope. I hope I get better. I hope I get a raise. I hope I get a new job. I hope I can make it through this depression. I hope I can learn more. I hope my life gets better. I hope I can be happier than I’ve been. I hope that this church grows. I hope that this church changes lives. I hope that this church doesn’t fail. Hope isn’t the absence of faith but thereby the method of how we practice to increase and connect to our faith. But if you don’t have hope – faith is going to be unnecessary!
And so God comes and prompts the Prophet Ezekiel and takes him to a place to see a vision of an open valley which was filled with dry bones. Now you might ask, why dry bones? Well the bones are merely a symbol of the state of the people:
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 (Ezekiel 37:11).
Therefore the dryness of the bones in this valley displays the condition of the hearts of the people. They were discouraged to the point that past their faith – their hope was misplaced as well. But it is clear – dry bones also not only means there’s no hope it also symbolizes a great and depleted condition within:
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
The condition within the people of Israel was that of a broken spirit! A broken spirit is what causes the bones to dry up. Now we now what that means because it is marrow that’s within the bone which keeps the bones supple and moist:
His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow (Job 21:24).
The bible is clear that faith, trust and hope keeps you not only healthy spiritually but physically:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8).
Obedience is also a prerequisite mentioned in this frequently quoted text. But the other factors are so is faith and hope. These virtues bring strength to your natural life as well as your spiritual life. It brings health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones. But when you loose your faith and your hope – it does the opposite. It blocks strength and vitality from reaching the innermost portions of your being. As it did with Israel. God showed Ezekiel the state of the people through a prophetic vision. They are discouraged. They are depressed. They are faithless and they are hopeless. But you know how God is right? When it seems impossible that’s when He likes to move. So God asked Ezekiel a question:
“Son of Man, can these bones live?”
That’s a good question! Can dead-end situations get a new route? Can seemingly bitter ending and on the verge of divorcing couples find love again? Can a dead-end job provide another place of employment with better salary ranges? Can my financial status stop being from paycheck to paycheck when my bills are more than my income? Can I get into school even though my credit is bad and my checks are garnished by the IRS? Can I get a higher paying job even without a degree in the field that I’m interested?
CAN THESE BONES LIVE?
If you are anything like me – you wouldn’t probably say – now you know that’s a crazy question! Why are you asking me? Because number one I’ve been in my situation so long I’m so jaded that I cannot even begin to give you a clear explanation of what I think could and could not happen. I’m so murky right now. Everything is a big blur! Why are you asking me a question especially when you know my faith is virtually disappeared and my faith is dwindling right behind it. But here’s God for you – Can these bones live?
And truth be told – I cannot answer it right now. I probably could if I had the level of faith that I use to. I probably could if I had the hope like I wanted. But the best answer is – I don’t know Lord but:
O Lord God, you know!
That’s what Ezekiel said back to God. He knows everything! So the answer is really up to you! The outcome is up to you. The truth of the matter is – only you can tell me; change this situation; or keep it just as it is – you know Lord.
This seems like a praise to me! Its almost as if I hear the interpretation of this text like this – Ok God, you really are Omniscient – the all knowing God. So let me just say I don’t know anything but I acknowledge you for knowing everything! And if you know anything about God – you know He likes to be Praised!!!!!!!
Someone shout this indirect praise: YOU KNOW LORD!
You know so the best I can come up with is – YOU TELL ME LORD!
And then it dawned on me. It wasn’t about God needing Ezekiel to answer Him as much as it was about Ezekiel acknowledging Him. Because you can clearly tell it was about God being acknowledge as being able to make something dead live again. Because God goes straight to the matter of it in the next verse:
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
God wants me to prophesy to my own problems! But that also is an indictment! I don’t have faith to do it! Because the bible says we prophesy to the proportion of our faith! I don’t even have hope to practice faith to even induce the courage to prophesy. I’m too depressed, discouraged, dark and dreary – I cannot even think of being prophetic at a time like this. And that’s when the Lord came to me and told me to tell you – But you have to be prophetic at a time like this if you want to live!
The word for prophesy in this text is the Hebrew Word “Nabah” which means to cause to speak or to bubble in speech; i.e., pour forth words abundantly. It also means in some cases to sing over yourself prophetically. But the weirdest portion of the understanding of this word – is to do it like a madman. Be crazy! It takes a level of craziness to get to this level of being prophetic! God then said to me – you’re already there. You are at your breaking point. Insanity is not far from your reach! You’ve been through so long and so much – that you don’t know what to feel or do anymore – so take my counsel and instruction – Son of Man prophesy upon these bones! Tell these bones to hear the word of the Lord. In simple terms – speak to your problems! God then told me to tell you – I’m getting glory out of you in your pain!
You might ask – how and why did He say that – He said remember what I showed David:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalms 51:17).
God is saying through your brokenness I’ve gotten a different level of worship and praise out of you! I don’t despise you or hate when you’re in this place – I receive it! So you are already in connection with me whether you’ve known it or not. Prophesy to your Problems! Do as I have commanded!
Ezekiel – in all his weariness; stress; strain; frustration and insecurity – did as God commanded:
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. 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.
Life and death are in the power of the tongue. God desires that we all prophesy. Be crazy! Go crazy if you must but do it prophesying! Speak over yourself! Speak to your situation! Tell it what it has to do! Tell what is not needful that it has to go! Speak until you see faith. Speak until you can reach hope! Speak until you feel yourself and your life coming back together again. And the Lord said – when you do this – don’t listen to the sound and think that it’s the storm increasing – he said listen and realize that the sound you will then hear is the storm dissipating and the destruction is about to become a construction site in your life. He can now put it back together again. The word is what you need to speak over you life! Prophesy the word of God. Pick up the bible speak it out loud. Read it but relate it to you! God promises that we prophesy over our own problems sometimes that’s the best medicine that we need:
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23).
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).
Your health and healing is waiting in your own mouth! Your deliverance and development is waiting in your own mouth! This disappearance of your dilemmas and the destroying of your adversities are waiting in your own mouth! Your power and your promise is waiting in your own mouth. I dare you! Prophesy to your problems! Speak to them! Tell them what they will and will not do in your life! God is still asking the question for the mere acknowledgement of Him so that He can direct your path and bring health and healing to your life – What will you do about it? Can these bones live? Can these bones live? Can these bones live? If God knows and God has given you the command – obey it because it is apart of the prerequisite to receive the proper release you need!