The story of Ezekiel standing in the valley, surveying the mass of dead dry bones, captured my attention.
Take a moment to read this short passage from Ezekiel 37:1-10: "The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'" So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet — a vast army. (NIV)
Whew! What a picture! What an experience. As I read this passage a few things stood out to me. I found it interesting that in verse one, Ezekiel highlights that the hand of the Lord was on him and that the Spirit of the Lord set him in the middle of a valley of bones.
Oh, how I can relate. Honestly, I've sat in the midst of complete helplessness, surrounded by a valley of seemingly nothingness...no life...no hope...no dreams...no strength...no vitality...no ability...just a valley of dry dead bones...Ever been there? I found it interesting that the Lord set him there. Why? For what purpose? I'll address this in just a bit.
But first, the other thing that stood out, is a description..."bones that were very dry."
As I read this, I couldn't help but question...how long had the bones sat, that they were very dry?
The passage eludes to a long period of time. It insinuates that they had been exposed to the harsh elements of the world. These weren't just bones...they were dead...dead...dead. The marrow had dried up. I get the feeling that they were frail and could easily be broken.
Ever been there? Ever felt lifeless? Frail? Exposed to the harsh elements of the world? Ever felt your dreams had nothing left? Ever felt, all hope was gone?
But...in the midst of this hopeless situation, the Spirit of God speaks and asks Ezekiel: "Son of man, can these bones live?"
Ahhhh. A glimmer of hope. A taste of life. A rekindled stir of possibility. Yet, Ezekiel humbly replies..."O Sovereign LORD, you alone know."
So, back to the original question, why? For what purpose does God set us in these valleys?
For me, I can honestly say, that my valleys have a way of causing my spirit to completely surrender to the power and majesty of our God. Hopeless situations cause me to realize I am NOT capable of doing anything, in my own power. The valleys empty me so that do things God's way instead of my way.
Ezekiel responds to God's question can these bones live again...humbly...and in complete surrender. And, God responds with LIFE! He tells Ezekiel to declare life. To command life. To prophesy life!
Today, you may be in a situation that seems completely hopeless! Your dreams may lay in the valley of dry bones...but...at God's command...LIFE can be restored.
God commanded...Ezekiel obeyed.
And the bones (once fragile and frail) rattled and came together. Tendons and flesh appeared. Skin covered them once again. The four winds breathed upon the slain...and they came to life.
Not only to a semblance of life...but (from the heap of dead dry bones came) a VAST army.
Friend, it's in that valley place...the place surrounded by nothingness...that God breathes back life into us. It's in that place that we are prepared to fight and conquer. And, by God's grace, it's from the heap of our hopeless that God's power comes forth.
HIS BREATH gives life to our dreams with a new anointing and a readiness for battle.
There is so much I'd like to say...but for the sake of time...I'd simply like to encourage you:
Nothing is impossible with God. He is the giver and sustainer of life. He revives. He brings forth life...even when there seems to be none.
Today, listen closely for His voice. Ask Him to restore life to your dreams. Ask Him to make you a mighty army, ready for battle.
He is able.