Summary: Examination of requirements for revival. Suitable for revival. Presented in conjunction with communion.
HOPE IN DRY TIMES
As we look at this passage of scripture, we find God’s hand on a prophet named Ezekiel. This anointed man, with God’s Spirit on him, was given a vision and in that vision he was taken to a valley. In the valley he saw a heart-breaking sight. The valley was covered with bones. God led him all around and had him look at the valley and at the bones from several angles and several view points. Everywhere he looked there were bones. They were the bones of God’s people, of the Israelites.
You see the Babylonians had defeated Israel 10 years earlier. They had destroyed Israel’s army and had taken a large portion of the population captive, back to Babylon. They were a defeated people. Here, God gives Ezekiel a vision of Israel. As he looks at the bones he notices several things about the bones, he notices several things about God’s people.
I. THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE
1. God’s people were dry. For years, Ezekiel had tried to encourage the captives living in Babylon. For years he had tried to remind them of the power, and the might, and the faithfulness of God. Every time he tried to encourage them he was met with skepticism. They simply replied, “Our bones are dry.”
I believe, my friend, there are several items that can lead to dryness in your life, to dryness in your spiritual life. There are several items that will sap the joy from your life and leave you just trying to make it from day to day.
a. Disobedience will leave your life dry. First, disobedience, unconfessed, undealt-with sin will leave your life dry.
Do you remember this verse? This is a verse from Psalm 51 (quickview) , the psalm David wrote describing his condition and praying for God’s forgiveness after he sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. David said, “Lord, since I’ve sinned, You’ve crushed my bones. The joy is gone. The energy is gone from my life. My excitement and enthusiasm for living is gone. I’m just hanging on. God, my sin has done this.”
Let me tell you my friend, unconfessed sin will sap the joy from your life. It will rob you of your energy. It will leave you dry.
But not only will unconfessed sin leave you dry, but discouragement, continual difficulties and setbacks, a loss of hope will leave you beaten as well.
b. Discouragement will leave you dry. – For 10 years now, the Israelites had been captives. At first they thought God was going to work in a great way. At first they thought He was going to rescue them. At first they thought things were going to be hunky dory. Now, the bondage continued day after day. The captivity continued. They saw no hope in sight.
Do you ever feel like that? You try to get ahead. You work on your finances, but it seems like just about the time you are about to get your head above water, an unexpected bill comes your way. The car breaks down, or the refrigerator quits. You’ve almost given up hope of ever getting ahead.
Have you ever given up hope on a friend or a family member? You’ve prayed for that person again and again. You cannot count the nights you have wet your pillow with the tears you shed in prayer over that wayward child or that backslidden friend. You’ve prayed and dreamed and yet it seems that nothing ever improves.