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Saturday, February 2, 2019

2-2-2019    Ezekiel 37:1-4  Dry Bones
                                Dry Bones                                                    Spiritual Explosion

The “Dry Bones” of Ezekiel 37 is our next example of how Father demonstrates to us the need to understand and deal with the tri-fold approach to our spiritual warfare.

This is coming to the realization that when Satan attacks us, he attacks what we understand best, the ‘natural man’.  Once we ‘catch on’ to what that sly old devil is doing and yield ourselves to the Lord, he moves on to overcome our ‘spiritual man’, our mind, intellect and our emotions and once we’ve allowed Father to equip us with His armor to stand against these tricks, that evil, sly fox moves into the third area and tries to draw the ‘heart of man’ away from God.  To do this, our enemy has to be up front yet very subtle.  He tries to convince us that he can do more for us than the living God who created all things. Our job is to remain humble as we to yield our hearts to the Lord. 

Angels are often equated with stars and stars were created on the fourth day (Gen.1:14-19).  Satan is a fallen angel (Luke 10:18).  Satan most likely was not there at the onset of creation but he has been around a while.  He’s witnessed (or been an element in) more bible than we can ever learn in our lifetime, so he has a pretty good idea on how to attack us.  Fortunately, Satan does not know everything (omniscient), he (or one of his demons) has to witness things to know them.  He can’t see everything at once.  He’s not everywhere at one time (omnipresent).  And he’s not all powerful.  He can’t do anything (especially to God’s children – read ‘Job’) without Father’s permission.  But neither is he dumb.  The fight continues.

The Valley of Dry Bones demonstrates how Father has been growing His body, His church, His children back to where we should be (as the early church of the apostles) and this ‘bringing back’ is’ slowly being manifested through the present growth of today’s church (body of Christ), resulting in the season we’re about to enter.

Those of us ‘more seasoned’ (older) veterans are familiar with the designations BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Diem-the year of our Lord), but because we aren’t supposed to be mixing religion and state, the world has changed the designation to BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era).  They’re still the same time periods, just designated differently today.  Satan would like to erase the awareness of God from the world’s consciousness. 

The Renaissance is considered to be the time period between 1300 AD (CE) and 1600 AD (CE).  This just happens to also be the time frame when God shook the world with the idea that the common man should have a bible that he could read for himself – in his own language.  It is also the time of the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther announced to the church “Hey, guys, we’re a little of track here (paraphrased) as he presented his 95 theses to get the church headed back in the right direction!”  Don’t fret.  This isn’t new.  The prophets of the Old Testament discovered scrolls (sometimes after centuries) and brought them to light of church leadership in attempts (more than once) to get Israel back on track.  During the renaissance, Father reminded man that He is a ‘personal’ God.  He cares about and deals with us, not only collectively, but as an individual.
Father gives Ezekiel three commands, or prayers, to speak over the Dry bones in that valley which he (Ezekiel) was tiptoeing through (Ezek. 37:1-14).  Father had taken Ezekiel into a valley filled with old, dried (bleached if you will) bones.  Then, Father asked Ezekiel “Son of man, can these bones live?”  We might respond with “yeah man!” or “Right on!”  But, knowing God knows all things and can do all things, Ezekiel had more sense than we may (I speak at least for myself, anyway) and smartly replied “Only You Know, Lord.”  Hmmm.  I wonder if Ezekiel might be a Pharisee or a Sadducee? (Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, Sadducees did not – so they were sad, you see)

We see that the early church got off track even during the apostle’s time.  Hey, why did Paul write those letters?  To get the fledgling churches back on the right road, the straight and narrow (Matt. 7:13-14).  Have you ever been involved with the line of people where the first person  in line speaks a short phrase to the person beside him?  That person tells it to the next person and so forth to the end of the line.  Generally, the phrase is hardly recognizable by the time the last person in line recites it to the others.  People don’t always hear with the ‘same ear’ and even then often add their own little ‘twist to what they did hear.  Human growth is the same way, the farther we get away from the original, the more distorted whatever “it” may be becomes.  Israel drifted from the ‘original’ (sometimes ‘quickly’ I might add) and likewise the New Testament church has also gotten away from its original concepts.  The basics may still be there, but a lot of the strength has been lost over the years.  If you doubt me, read the Old Testament and the New Testament letters.

So is it really a surprise to think that the new covenant church may have gotten somewhat off track and actually become a valley of dry bones over the centuries?  Think about it, 2000 years ago people gathered to fulfill their ‘religious’ obligations (the Jewish church).  Jesus was drawing them out of works moving into faith.  For the greater part, how different are we today?  We say we have faith but look at the church!  Have we moved from showing our faith through our works or have our works been standing alone, on their own merit?  “What a good boy am I?”  Just as faith without works is dead, so works, standing alone without love, doesn’t amount to much (James 2:14-18, Matt. 23:27) Human nature is consistent and unless we put a lot of effort and perseverance into it, mankind repeats the mistakes of his ancestor’s.  We hear things are supposed be this way or that way but because we don’t see it personally, we shelve the idea or concept.  Must’ve been for someone else or another time.

So, Father has Ezekiel pray and command the dry bones in that valley to come together, bone on bone or proper alignment.  He connects those bones with ligaments so they don’t become scattered all over the valley again.  Father then puts muscle upon those bones so they can have the ability to “do” something, that is, what we are called to do.  Finally, those bones receive a covering of skin so they can look like the body, a reflection of God’s love, but the body had no breath in it (Ezek.37:7-8).  The body looked like a body, and even though its shell had a resemblance to love, it had no breath.  There was no real life.  Jesus called the Jewish church of His day a whited sepulcher (Matt. 23:27).  Looks good on the outside but only dead bones on the inside.  Over the years, I can’t count the times, I’ve heard people comment about a specific church or even a denomination(s) “They have no life, they’re dead!”  When we don’t use it, we lose it (Matt. 25:14-30).  Just like the man who hid his one talent.  If we don’t apply it (invest) it doesn’t work and we eventually lose that access.  We have to use what God gives us and use it to the best of our ability.  And to use it, we have to believe it (Matt. 21:22).

Is this sounding  little familiar?  Just because somebody confesses Jesus and is baptized in water, the ‘deal’ may be signed, but it is not necessarily sealed or delivered – yet.  The natural man may look like a man, he may be able to do what he is supposed to do, but there are things lacking.  Simon the sorcerer confessed Jesus and was baptized in water, but his heart still wasn’t right, as indicated by Peter’s admonishment (Acts 8:5-24).  We also have as example Ananias and Sapphira who reneged on what they promised God (Acts 5:1-11).  Father is serious about our relationship with Him and He wants us to be the same.

So here was a body, the first prayer/command had been fulfilled, but it had no breath.  Breath would be ‘viable power’.  The Hebrew word for breath is ruwach (7307) which is a strong breath or violent blast of air.  Something that comes out with force.  So these bodies were there but they had no real power.  They were effectively lifeless. 

Ezekiel delivers the second pray/command “Breath, come from the four winds and breathe upon these who are slain that they might live.”   But the bodies complained as reflected when after they stood up, they cried out “Our bones are dried, our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts (Ezek. 37:9-11).  They were given power but didn’t (know how?) to use it.  How much does today’s church bellyache about not having power or at least seeing the evidence thereof?  When we receive Christ, the Holy Ghost takes up residence within us, fulfilling the second prayer/command.  The slain are raised up, but there is still something missing.

What did Jesus tell the disciples “But you shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you. (Acts 1:8)”.   

So, even though they now have life, these powerless bodies prompt a third prayer/command from God through Ezekiel.

Father tells Ezekiel and us that He will cause us to come up out of our graves and we will know that He is the one who did it.  He says He will put His Spirit in us and put us in our own land (Ezek. 37:12-14).  Understand, those who complained had the Holy Ghost but they had no power.  That’s why Jesus told His disciples that soon the Holy Ghost would come upon them giving them power (Acts:1:8).  But, as in Ezekiel, even with power, the church complains.

This third step is pulling us up out of our graves which means Father will bring us into a more complete relationship with Himself.  With our graves behind us, our hearts are solidified with the Lord.  We have come into our own land.  Living in the kingdom of God, though we’re still here on earth.  Our hearts are one with the living God, JAWEH through Jesus Christ our Lord (John 17:20-21).  No, we’re not taken out of this world but Father has given us the realization of who and what we are through Christ Jesus and the ability to live in this world understanding this.  After all, Jesus didn’t ask Father to save us then take us out of this world, but rather to keep us from the evil of the world (John 17:15).  We are heirs of the kingdom operating in the same power Jesus did because we believe – with all our heart, not doubting.  Even Jesus could do only a few miracles when He went home to Nazareth because of the people’s unbelief (Matt. 13:53-58).  In this season, the church is preparing to enter, faith will come to a new level, a higher level because we will be believing God - absolutely.  His power in us and through us, as with Jesus and the early disciples.

When our faith does reach this level, we are no longer in our graves but operating in the maturity Father wants for us.  Thus fulfilling the third prayer/command of Ezekiel 37.

Father has been preparing His church for this time for 600 years and we are preparing to embark on the final stage of our relationship with Him.  Living as we ought, even though we are not yet in eternity.  We are in this world but we are not bound by this world.  We will be in our own land because the Holy Ghost is alive, well and operating in our hearts.  Though physically still on earth, we will be in our own land.  Operating in the realm Father has always intended.  Though the earth will yet be corrupt, God’s love will reign wherever the love of Christ abides in the heart of man and we will come to know and understand  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”!


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