Where has your life been ruined? Where is there death and failure in your history? For Israel, there were many times of failure, devastation and bondage. 600 years before Jesus would appear, the prophet Ezekiel was a voice to the hopeless. The fallen nation of Israel was suffering as exiles and slaves.

The northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by Assyria and taken into captivity some 150 years earlier, and Judah had just been crushed by Babylon. The temple of the Lord had been destroyed; the city of Jerusalem burned and left in ruins, and the people taken into exile. After such devastation, the Israelites could not imagine that God would restore them again as a nation.[1]

God gave Ezekiel a message. Watch this short video reading from Ezekiel chapter 37. Listen to what God says when all hope is gone.

Ezekiel’s vision has been interpreted various ways. It would point to the future when Jews would return to their homeland after their captivity. We also see a picture of bodily resurrection that answers the question, “Can these dead bones live?”

We see a picture of how God would raise up the church from the ruins of Judaism. There is a connection to the nation of Israel being restored in the last days.

And once again, we see the Creation story being enacted. God took the dust and formed a man. God breathed life into him and he stood up. Now the dry bones are being restored and life given-- and Jesus breathes on his disciples and that which was dead in us comes alive.

Ezekiel saw things and had a mandate to speak up about what God was showing him. Because the Holy Spirit has been given, you also have insight into what God has revealed. We can expect that God will speak to us.

Where is the gift of prophecy in our time? In teaching the Church at Corinth, Paul gave this encouragement.

1 Corinthians 14:
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

Who can prophesy? All of us can. We can speak God’s message to one another in ways that bring hope and focus. If you are committed to the love of God, it follows that you will want to say something that helps.

Ezekiel articulated and proclaimed exactly what God wanted his people to hear. They were not forgotten. The promises of God were not removed from them. God would breathe and they would live again.

Where have you given up all hope? Where has something died in you and you have lost the fight?

Prophesy to these bones. Invite the breath of God to come and rebuild. That dream that was crushed can live again. Nothing is lost on God. His plans will be carried out by a standing army.

2 Corinthians 4:
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

[1] NIV Quest Study Bible Notes