Summary: Examination of requirements for revival. Suitable for revival. Presented in conjunction with communion.
HOPE IN DRY TIMES
- Read Ezekiel 37:1-14
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.
> Psalm 51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice.
Do you remember this verse? This is a verse from Psalm 51, 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.
Are you dry today?
Ezekiel looked around and he saw the bones, the people were dry. He also noticed a second item about the bones and that is that they were scattered.
2. God’s people were disjointed – v7. “The bones came together. Bone to bone.” You know, when I’ve seen skeletons on TV and such, most of the times, regardless of how old they are, or how dry they are, those skeletons are usually together for the most part. They may not be in perfect shape, but at least the bones are together.
Not here. The bones, God’s people were disjointed. The people, when they had gotten dry, when they fell into disobedience, when they got discouraged, they became disjointed. In other words, they found themselves heading this way and that. They had so many things going on in their lives, that when they became dry and lost the centralizing reason or purpose for their lives, they started going everywhere and doing everything. They had looked for more hours in the day, so they could do more things, and they found they were meeting themselves coming and going. They forgot what was supposed to be central in their lives, and they came apart.