Summary: Revival preparation message looking at the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel.
I WANT TO LIVE
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Nearly thirteen years ago I hopped on a plane and rushed into a hospital room to be at the bedside of my mother as she struggled to catch her breath. She was dying and she knew it. I remember distinctly the only two phrases she spoke in the next couple of days. When I first arrived at her bedside she said, “Aw, nuts!” She had a funny way of looking at things. It was some hours later as I was holding the air tube just in front of her mouth she mustered enough strength to say, “I want to live, I want to live”.
Hers was the deepest valley of all. But I am reminded of Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” The Good News Bible it puts it this way, “Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.”
The valley is a consistent theme of struggle in the Scripture. In Ezekiel 37 we find the prophet taken by the Spirit of the Lord in a vision into a valley.
1. Everybody experiences valleys
a. The ups of life are great and the downs of life can be crushing. When life is a constant pendulum between the two we can seem to lose all spiritual footing and bearing.
b. The Spirit of the Lord shows Ezekiel a valley full of bones. Verse 11 tells us these bones are the house of Israel. “dried up”, without hope and “cut off”.
i. There is spiritual deadness
ii. There is seemingly no way out
iii. All relationship and fellowship is broken
c. The key question is “Can these bones live?”
i. We may feel that we are too far from the Lord for Him to reach or restore us.
ii. The interesting thing is that the Spirit asks Ezekiel the question. “Can these bones live?”
iii. Ezekiel’s response shows the hopelessness he has experienced and indicates faith as well. “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
2. It’s not by might
a. Ezekiel prophesied to the bones and they came together. They took on just the right appearance of life. But they weren’t alive. Not until the spirit of God comes is there life.
b. What’s it going to take to get you out of the valley? Out of the pit?
i. It won’t be positive thinking
ii. It won’t be working harder
iii. It won’t be anything you can do
iv. It’s only God through the power of His Spirit!
c. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”—Zechariah 4:6
d. You may have thought for a long time that you wouldn’t be able to live for Jesus and so you haven’t come to Him in faith. You’re right. You cannot….but God can!
a. Symbolized by the “vast army”. With God’s Spirit within us we will have life and life full of power to stand up to the Spiritual battles ahead.
i. And we do it together.
ii. We need one another in community.
iii. We need to be in a small group.
iv. We need to be in corporate worship.
v. We need to be in ministry and service.
vi. This togetherness of the Body of Christ benefits the individual Christian, the corporate Body and the needy world.
b. Symbolized by the settling in our own land—God will give us the hope of dwelling in His promises. Let’s not make the mistake of looking for earthly benefits. God is giving us a promised land in eternity! But we reap the blessings of fellowship and family here along the way.
Are you up or down? Do you even know? If you’re in a valley today only God can breathe life back into you. If you’re doing o.k. you still need a fresh anointing. There’s not a one of us that doesn’t need revival.
Just like Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy to the four winds, call out to God for all the power of Heaven to flow into your dryness, your hopelessness, your brokenness.
My mom mustered all the strength she had to say, “I want to live!” And she is living today! More than she ever would have here on earth.
I Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”