Over the last couple of days i’ve been reminded of some well known verses in the book of Ezekiel (chapter 37) where God takes the prophet to a valley filled with the bones of an army. It’s a valley that represents utter hopelessness and total defeat – you only see a graveyard of an army if that army was defeated.
And yet, into this hopeless place of defeat, God speaks to Ezekiel and tells him to prophesy to these dead, defeated, dry bones and tell them to live. And of course, as Ezekiel obeys the promptings of God and makes prophetic declarations of life even in this valley of defeat and failure, life springs up and what was once silenced by the enemy is restored to full strength and glory.
I wonder how many of us carry the shame of our previous defeats? Moments where we failed to be all that we’re created to be. Moments where opportunities – so promising – were missed and seemingly forever lost. I wonder if for some of us, God is calling us to revisit these valleys in our hearts where we have grieved over dry bones, and is prompting us to declare life into the places where we’ve fallen before.
What strikes me about the passage in Ezekiel is that we’re told there were very many bones – a vast army defeated – and that they were very dry – this defeat had happened quite a while ago. I believe some of us are being called to revisit the places we would see as our biggest defeats, our most epic failures, and into those many bones that may have been in the valleys of our hearts for quite some time, we are to start prophesying flesh and breath and life.
The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the grave is very much alive in us and still loves to bring dead bones back to life. In a Kingdom where the grave itself holds no permanence and weakness is the perfect platform for power, defeats and failures are merely opportunities for God to show His nature as restorer of what is broken all over again. Let Him in, excavate those dry bones and let Kingdom power break out to make the valleys shake with the sounds of life once again.