Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
Ezekiel 37:9-10 (NLT)
The vision of the Valley of Dry Bones happened in two phases. First, God brought the bones back together and put flesh back on the bones to make bodies. They were still lifeless, though. They wouldn’t be able to do much as lifeless corpses. They needed breath to become animated, living beings again. So, God told Ezekiel to command breath from the four winds to enter these bodies and bring them back to life. Ezekiel obeyed. At his command, breath entered the lifeless bodies and brought them back to life. The bodies now stood as a great army but this would not have happened if the breath had not entered their lungs.
This was God’s promise to the Exiles of Israel. He wasn’t going to just bring their nation back together and restore their structures. He was going to put his Spirit within them. Without the life-giving presence of the Spirit in their community, the restored structures of their society would be useless. With God’s Spirit within them, they could truly be His people and follow His ways with all their hearts. They would be given new life.
We need the Holy Spirit breathing life back into our lifeless structures, as well. When we’ve come to a place where we feel like dried up bones laying in a valley, it takes more than restoring the structures of our life to make us feel alive again. We need the Holy Spirit breathing in us and giving our bodies the power we need to be effective in the mission He gives us. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples in John 20, he called them to the mission of making His ways known around the world. To enable them to accomplish the mission, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:20) In the same way, we need the Holy Spirit in our lives if we hope to be effective in the mission of the Kingdom of God.
- Holy Spirit, breath life into our lifeless bodies today.