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Dry Bones Become an Army of God

Ezekiel 37:1-14      Key Verses 37:9, 10 Let’s read 9, 10

[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.]

Let’s pray,

In 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem a second time. On this invasion, Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon where he saw visions of God in his youth and performed his duty as a spiritual watchman to his people. One of his most famous visions is the valley of dry bones. This passage is called as the resurrection chapter in the Old Testament. It was God’s message of hope and love for his people in a desperate situation.

Tonight, I pray God will put his Spirit within us, and change us by his power into his vast army. We have hope because God gives life even to the dried bones. May God help us to see his hope for the people in this generation through this passage.

1.      Can these bones live (1-8)?

Let’s read verses 1, 2, “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.”  Usually, a valley is shady and cool. A little stream flows through it and it is quite a relaxing place. But it was not the case here. The valley was full of human bones! Maybe it was a battle-field near Jerusalem, where hundreds of thousands had been slain, and none left behind to bury them. Vultures and mountain wolves ate the flesh of these mighty men, and drank the blood. Time went by and winds blowing over the open valley made them bare. And hot sun bleached and dried the bones. It was a dark valley of death. The mere thought about the scene would make us shudder. And as the prophet went back and forth to see a great many and very dry bones, suddenly despair and fear fell upon him.

No doubt there was an awful silence spread over this desolate place. Then the voice of the Lord breaks in upon his ear. Let’s read v3, [He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know."] How strange a question is this to dry, whitened bones! How foolish it is telling dried bones, “Do not to give up hope!” Yet God asks: "Can these bones live?" God sees things differently. He sees not just how things are, but how they could be. What was Ezekiel’s response? "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” “Though they cannot live by themselves, YOUR ALMIGHTY POWER can make them live.” He knew that the Lord brings death and makes alive. God welcomes the words of hope and faith.

Receiving his answer of faith, God commanded him. Let’s read v4-6, [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.' "] These bones were dead, dry, spiritless, lifeless and without ears to hear. They have no heart to love God. No eyes to see his vision. They have no tongue to praise their Father in heaven. If we tell them of the impending wrath of God, they are not moved to flee. Dry bones cannot run. If we tell them to accept the Lord Jesus, they cannot stretch out their arms. Maybe I am describing some students in your class? Maybe they act like that.

Even so, God is continually urging upon us, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!’” ‘Prophesy’ means ‘Declare what God’s will is.’ Preaching is God's instrument for awakening the people. God himself has called it "the foolishness of what was preached (1Co 1:21)" You may say that preaching seems weak and foolish. But you cannot say that it is not God's way of causing people to live. If we despise it, we should keep away from the house of God, and lock up our Bible.

Can the bones in valleys of Rutgers, TCNJ & Princeton & Rider campus live? I don’t know. We don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe not. Then we should despair over how dead and dry they are? Can we bear to have a cold, icy heart? If we will go away unmoved, who can be witnesses for them? They are great many, and very dry. Though our words have no power, yet God can work mightily through them. God’s words are active and sharp like a double-edged sword. And God had said the bones would come to life, so he would be responsible for the results. We should only obey his word with humble heart and simple faith in him like Noah, Daniel, Job. (cf. 14:14)

Let’s read v7-8, 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.” Ezekiel did what God told him to do. Nothing happened before he prophesied. Nothing happened while he was thinking about it, wondering what kind of fool he would look if nothing happened. Just because he was commanded, so he prophesied. He declared God’s promises. He walked by faith, not by sight. He believed God rather than himself. Throughout the whole valley of despair and death, his voice resounded, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!”

While he was prophesying, there was a noise. In response to his prophecy, God worked at once. A rattling sound, then, commotion among the bones. (Tick! Tick! Tick!) Like a beautiful and harmonious orchestration, bones scattered in all directions, were assembled correctly. Now Ezekiel was amazed! All he did was simply speak God’s word to the bones. God’s word had power to make the bones into human bodies. But they were still inanimate bodies without life or breath.

Against all his rational thoughts, experiences and pride as a veteran fisherman, Peter obeyed Jesus’ word. “But because you say so, I will let down the nets (Lk5:5b).” Then he experienced a miracle which was the turning point of his life. Like this when servants obeyed Jesus’ command, a miracle happened as water was turned into the finest wine! In Philippi, at first, it was like a spiritual wasteland, but God opened the heart of Lydia when Paul opened his mouth. And God began to work powerfully for the salvation of European people.

I heard Ivy League graduates are applying for jobs they are clearly overqualified for because of economic depression and the 8% of high unemployment rate. Students are not able to make head or tail of their future direction. Moral corruption, increasing of divorcing rates and broken families, confused value systems inspired a longing for true love and clear direction. They need the word of God and the place of rest. But they escape to drugs and sex and overnight dances and parties. Dwellers near campus cannot sleep well at night because of their noises and shouts.

If we think of them, they are like dry bones. We doubt if the words of God can enter into their hearts. I repent that I felt freedom when it rained in fishing time. Lord, forgive me that I was only calculated profit and loss without shepherd heart, without the sense of responsibility. I caught one of my 2009 key verse as Lk 18:41 “Lord, I want to see!” And I prayed God, “Help me to see your spiritual world and campus sheep’s spiritual state.” And he responded my prayer and gave me an opportunity to meditate and deliver this message. Thank God! Help me to preach Jesus, the Way and the Truth and the Life to campus students. They are great many and very dry.

2.      Prophesy to the breath (9-10)

After the first word of God there was no spiritual life in the body. The effects produced by the prophecy of Ezekiel to the dry bones were amazing. But still there was no breath in them—they were as dead as ever. Then the voice of God again breaks the silence. Let’s read v9, [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.'”] Again, nothing more happened until he prophesied again. This time God did not tell him to speak to the bones but to the breath which cannot be seen.

Doubt might have whispered to him, “To whom are you going to prophesy now?” Reason might have argued, “What sense is there in speaking to the invisible breath?” But he didn’t stagger at the word through unbelief. Let’s read v10, “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” God commanded, so he spoke to the breath. The Hebrew word 'ruach', for breath or wind, is the same word for spirit. While Ezekiel was prophesying, the words had immediate effects.Prophesy” here means to be witnesses of God’s life-giving power. In Ge 2:7, the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The source of power is God. We are nothing without the Holy Spirit of God. When the breath of life gently blew upon these lifeless creatures, each was inspired with its own spirit. And they stood up on their feet as a vast army. It was the awesome majesty of God. The dead men came to life. Their faces became flush. They began to brea-the. “Hmm_Oh! Fresh air!” They stretched out their arms and feet. One by one they stood up on their feet. They became a vast army. This army is not just a huge undisciplined mob. This vast army of God is well disciplined and can fight powerfully against the devil. It is like Gideon’s 300 brave soldiers. This vast army does not rise by itself. The army of God can stand on their feet when they hear the word of God and when the Spirit works in them.

In this part, to speak to the breath means to pray for the Holy Spirit. What makes man live is entirely by the power of the Spirit. True restoration will only occur when the Spirit of God moves and is put within the people. A great amount of Bible knowledge does not make a man live. When the Spirit convicts us with God’s word, the word of God activates in us and makes us live. Without prayer we cannot make even one person live. Without prayer nothing will happen. (Mk 9:29). Through prayer we must first repent of our sin. Our complacency, our love for the pleasure more than God, our laziness, self-centeredness, idol worshipping and unbelief must all be repented daily. Through prayer we must seek the Spirit so that the Spirit may burn our sinful desires and give us a holy desire. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are full of God’s vision. “Your young men will see visions (Ac 2:17)! We can grow bold, courageous and powerful. We can bear abundant spiritual fruits inside and out and our joy is complete. The Spirit leads us into all truth and gives us true freedom.

Without the spirit of God, all students in campus streets are dead bodies, some, walking in the streets, and others, sleeping in class. In God’s time, he will pour his Spirit on our dry bones in the campus valley. These days we explain our center location to them diligently. Someday, they will ask us in the streets, “Do you happen to know where is the RURP Bible study center?” At that time, there will be gospel festivals in College Avenue and in Nassau street. In God’s time they will stand up on their feet as a vast and mighty army of God. They will sing and shout for joy. “Praise the Lord!” They will live to praise God, serve others, and to walk in faith and light.

3.      Then you will know that I am the Lord (11-14)

This part is the meaning of the vision. Let’s read v11, “Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'” Those dry bones were the people of Israel, dried out without hope. Living without hope is such a terrible thing. It was already prophesied in Ez 7:18, “They will put on sackcloth and be clothed with terror. Their faces will be covered with shame and their heads will be shaved.” This people felt deserted by God, had no hope for the future. They sighed, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion (Ps 137:1).” God had said to them, “Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!” (14:6) “Rid yourselves of all the offenses your have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die? …Repent and live!” (18:31, 32)  But when they didn’t obey God, he punished them thoroughly through the most ruthless Babylon. Jerusalem and God’s temple were destroyed. They had been exiled to a foreign land. They had been separated from their families and friends and taken from their homes, all gone. They thought, “Our nation is finished.” Their state was hopeless and their recovery was so far as dry bones coming to life. They were cut off from the protection, love and grace of God. They had given up all hope. Ezekiel knew what the people were talking about.

Let’s read v12, Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.” It all looked helpless and hopeless to the Jews. But God had plans for those dried-out lives. Now he wants to restore them by his great grace and mercy. He addresses them, “O my people!” It was his sigh of lamentation and affection toward his people. They were dead and dried up. Their life was like living in a dark and wretched grave. Their strength and energy were gone. But God promised to them. Ezekiel was glad to give this good news to the people, God’s message of love and hope. Now even though they were in exile, they could have hope for the future. One day the scattered people of Israel would be gathered from all the places where they were now. Then, once again they would be made into a great nation. They could sure that God would be with them always. He was there, even if they were far from home.               

The Lord says, there is hope for their future. Let’s read v13-14, Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'” An alien king, Cyrus of Persia, proclaimed to the Israelites that they should go up to Jerusalem and build the temple of God. It was unbelievable. Yet it did happen! At the time of restoration, Israelites praised God, “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy (Ps 126:1, 3).

In today’s passage, he repeated three times. “This is what the Sovereign LORD says.” He repeated two times, “Then you will know that I am the Lord” Again he declared, “Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it.” When he said the impending punishment, disaster and judgment, he said, “Then you will know that I am the Lord (Ez7).” And this time when he says his love and hope, he gives the same words. “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” He repeated this words again and again and again through prophet Ezekiel. He wants us to know who God is.

Then who is the Lord our God?// He is the Sovereign Lord. My life, the future of a nation, the world and the universe is under his sovereignty. Acts 17:25 says, “The God who made the world… gives all men life and breath and everything else.” He is the Creator and life-giver to the dead. The Sovereign Lord, who judges and who loves and gives mercy, wants to fear him and repent all their sins before him, and restore the mission as a a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex19:5,6). He want us to rise as an army of God, do not lie down as dry bones in the valley of despair and death, but rise up as a mighty army of God on the high mountain of hope and life. So Paul urged the saints, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you (Eph 5:14)." “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Clothe your-selves with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ro 13:12b, 14a)”

God is the God of hope. God exiled the Israelites into Babylon because God had hope for them. God allowed this generation to suffer from their slavery to sin and from the economic depression because God has hope for them. When you prophesy to them, Joomanbo, Dozie, Xiofeng, when you prophesy to them, the time will come that the people all the world know that our God is the Lord- the Savior of love and mercy. Then what, do you think, is God’s hope in this generation? He said in 14:11b, “They will be my people and I will be their God.”

In conclusion, It is too easy to think hopelessly when we see dry bones in this generation around us. We must obey God humbly and persistently teach the word of God. We must pray for the work of the Holy Spirit. This is our mission - to make the great number of bones into a vast army of God. I pray God may put his Spirit in us and help us to stand up as a vast army of God. May God give his Spirit to Rutgers, Princeton and TCNJ, Rider and all NJ campus souls. And May God help them to come to life and stood up on their feet as his vast army preaching God’s word to this generation. May God raise 7,000 well disciplined soldiers of Christ and 1,000 professor shepherds in Rutgers, Princeton and NJ. Before we leave here, may God help us to confess with faith, “I felt God’s power of life! I have received hope in Christ Jesus!” Amen.

Let’s read key verses 37:9, 10,/// Let’s pray.

 

 

No. Subject Author Date Views
25 2010 SBC Closing Message (Philippians 3:1-11) by M. Joseph Sohn [8] file Joseph 2010.08.25 23262
24 THE OUTLINE OF THE WHOLE SCRIPTURES by Nehemiah Kim (Gwangju I,IV) - 05/10/10 [2] file admin 2010.05.16 23531
23 2010 New Year Conference 2nd Day Message (Acts 2:42-47) by M. Joseph Sohn [2] Joseph 2010.01.02 23268
22 2009 ESBC Closing Message by M. Dr. John Jun: Make Disciples of All Nations [2] admin 2009.08.31 24745
21 2009 ESBC Main Message VI by Shep. Bruno Aussant: The Word of the Lord Grew in Power [2] admin 2009.08.31 24871
20 2009 ESBC Main Message V by Shep. Georgi Kumanichliev: The Risen Christ Gives Great Commission [1] admin 2009.08.31 19602
19 2009 ESBC Main Message IV by Shep. Joachim Dietzel: Jesus Said, It is Finished admin 2009.08.31 12924
18 2009 ESBC Main Message III by Shep. Titus Keller: But Seek His Kingdom [1] admin 2009.08.31 12985
17 2009 ESBC Main Message II by Shep. Abraham Kaier: Your Sins are Forgiven [2] admin 2009.08.31 15095
16 2009 ESBC Main Message I by Shep. Eberhard Groß: Jesus, the Spring of Living Water admin 2009.08.31 13267
15 2009 ESBC Opening Message by Shep. Dr. Samuel H Lee: The Hope of God [2] admin 2009.08.31 12418
14 2009 SBC 1st Day Message(Exodus 19:1-6) by M.Matthew Kim [2] kimmatthew 2009.08.03 14332
13 2009 SBC 3rd Day Message(Acts 19:1-22) by sh. Jason Perry [2] file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 12888
12 2009 SBC 2nd Day Message(Mt 28:) by 2nd Gen M. John Park Jr. [2] file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 13065
11 2009 SBC 2nd Day Message(John 19:16b-42) by M.Barnabas Moon file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 12748
10 2009 SBC 2nd Day morning devotion Message(John 4:1-14) by Dr. Jun Hee Lee file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 13019
9 2009 SBC 1st Day Message(Mark 2:1-17) by M.Martin Ahn file livebyfaith 2009.08.02 14415
8 2009 EBC 3rd Day Message(John 21:1-25) by Dozie Uzoma [1] file admin 2009.06.30 12592
» 2009 EBC 2nd Day Message(Ezekiel 37:1-14) by Abraham Moses Kim file admin 2009.06.30 13389
6 2009 EBC 2nd Day Message1(John 11:1-44) by M.Moses Kim file admin 2009.06.30 12617