O God, Breathe New Life Into Us!
A mighty revival in the midst of impossible surroundings, and with the most unlikely material to work with – this is the picture given in the form of a parable in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel (vv. 1-14).
In Isaiah 55:8 God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways"; "...God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Cor. 1:27); "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). All these facts are illustrated in Ezekiel’s revival in a graveyard.
Men have a very important part to play in connection with the bringing in of a great spiritual awakening, but the awakening itself, the revival in its essence, is the work of God. "And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves" (Ezek. 37:13).
The prophet is not told to imagine that conditions are not so bad after all. No! Ezekiel is set down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. He was caused to pass by them round about. There were many bones in the open valley and they were very dry. The less likelihood there is for having a revival from a natural standpoint – so much the more glory shall come to the name of the Lord as He overrules all conditions and pours out His Spirit in life-giving, reviving power.
The Lord asks Ezekiel what he thinks about the situation: "Son of man, can these bones live?" The prophet kept his eyes on God and put the question up to Him: "O Lord God, Thou knowest" (Ezek. 37:3). It was then that the mighty Spirit of God began to operate through the obedient servant. Ezekiel is told to prophesy upon the bones, and as he carries out his orders, there is a shaking, a uniting, a coming together of bone to his bone. Flesh and sinews were formed but as yet no breath was in them. Step by step the Almighty was getting things underway for this mighty revival in the nation of Israel.
Continuously must the prophet look to the Lord for directions. Here Ezekiel has on his hands a great company of dead people – not looking quite so impossible as had the dry, scattered bones, but in effect just as useless, just as absolutely lifeless. The machinery of revival was here working but there was more, much more yet to be done.
God had set the prophet out there for a purpose. That purpose was that a revival should materialize. And so we find that when Ezekiel needed further orders, and as he kept looking to God, the orders came: "Prophesy unto the wind, and say to the wind, thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live" (v. 9).
The prophet obeyed this peculiar command – and the mighty awakening, the heaven-sent revival was on: "So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (Ezek. 37:10). This was the revival among a nation who were saying, "Our hope is lost" (v. 11).
Believe and Obey
God is calling today for a group of people who will stand in the gap that the Spirit of the Lord may move through them and "an exceeding great army" of Christians may be put on the field for these last days to gather in the mighty harvest of souls before the harvest days are over forever.
Do we sometimes feel that God has set us in a graveyard – in a valley of very dry bones? Well, that is the proper setting for a most glorious revival if we will believe and obey God. Jesus says distinctly, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29). In a Philippian jail at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God – and a revival started right there. The harder the situation, the more impossible the conditions from a human standpoint – so much the more need of revival.
Let us in these days believe God to send a mighty flood tide of resurrection power flooding into the church that from valleys of very dry bones, spiritually speaking, shall come forth armies of Christian soldiers, overcoming by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and winning sheaves to lay at the nail-pierced feet of Jesus, the blessed Son of God.
The time is short! Let us unite in faith that the Spirit of God shall be speedily outpoured in revival power. "It is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hos. 10:12). Oh, for a mighty crying out to God day and night until He answers!
Jesus says, "And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily..." (Luke 18:7-8).