Sunday Service | Mount Zion Church | 17 March 2019 | The Days of Ezekiel | Ready to Revive Series | Ezekiel 37:1-14
Ezekiel lived in the days where there seemed to be no hope at all for Israel! Ezekiel was a priest, but there was no temple for Israel to have any service. Israel was taken captive to Babylon, to the land of Chaldeans, far away from their home land, lived in slavery, no freedom, no peace, no joy. The book of Ezekiel started with Ezekiel’s vision when he was among the captives by the River Chebar Eze.1:1. The psalmist wrote how the captives liked to sit down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion, they were asked to sing the Lord’s song, but it became very difficult for them since they felt very bad with their condition Psa.137:1. While the condition was very miserable, God opened the eyes of Ezekiel and showed a great vision from heaven. Even though there were lots of people by that river, somehow only Ezekiel who was able to see that heavenly vision! The book of Ezekiel was fully loaded with visions and prophecies, so the eyes of Israel could open wide and their hope restored again! Ezekiel saw the God’s throne in heaven, even he saw the new city of Jerusalem and the new temple inside it. He saw the healing waters which running out on the right side of the temple, also the heavenly trees which their leaves will not wither, their fruits will not fail, and they will bear fruit every month! Ezekiel was called to bring a new hope for Israel. God also called us to bring a new hope for this world wherever God already sent us.
SENT TO A REBELLIOUS NATION
3And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. 4 For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 5 As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel 2:3-5 NKJV
Israel was known as a rebellious nation! Our world today is also known as the rebel one! Apostle Paul wrote, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power 2Tim.3:1-5.” Right now, we can simply say that we are in the edge of the most critical time in the history of human being! We are waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ and this world is in its way to both getting better and getting worst at the same time Rev.22:11.
Why there are people who like to rebel against God? Because they are not able to see and to hold the hope giving to them. Instead of living in holiness and righteousness, some people decide to rebel against it and somehow, they find everything seems still good and under control. Instead of living in the value of the kingdom of Christ, some people decide to rebel against it and just conform their life with the value from this world and somehow, they find their life looks better even more fun. Israel rebelled against Moses because they can not see any hope in the middle of the desert, it was easier for them to remember all the plenty and fun they ever had in Egypt! We must always be aware with the trick of the devil who want to blind the eyes of believers, so they will not able to see and to hold the good hope that God already prepare and give for us 2Cor.4:4! Among 12 spies who sent to the land of promise, only 2 (Joshua and Caleb) who can see the hope while another 10 decided to cultivate the root of rebellion which spread wide among their brothers and then bring up a big plague! Without a fresh and living hope, anyone is in the risk to be caught with sting of rebellion.
However, God send us, together with all believers in this generation, to face this rebellious people. God send us out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves Mat.10:16. We must protect ourselves from the sting of rebellion, while in the same time we are asked to bring the message of hope for that rebellious people! The fire revival need to be brought to that group of people. The only thing that we need to do is only deliver the word of God, the fresh hope from heaven, the living hope that alive in us. The big revival was happened among people at Nineveh because Jonah finally arrived there and bring the message of salvation: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown Jon.3:4!” God wants us to obey and just do it, regardless what is the result! The only thing that Ezekiel must do was bring the message of hope, and it never means that all people in Israel will 100% obey with it. God asked Ezekiel to do it, so that they will know that a prophet has been among them. God also asked us to bring the fresh message of hope wherever we may go, so that people around us will know that a man of God, who is you and me, has been among them, so that people will know that the army of God still here in this world, so that the voice of truth can be heard! Don’t bother ourselves with the final result because God never give us any exact number for our target. When Paul was in Athens, he brought the message of hope for people there, who worshipping something which they even don’t know about it! The revival was commenced, people started to gather together in marketplace, the word of God was delivered mightily, but the outcome was only Dionysius, Damaris, and some other people with them Ac.17:16-34.
As God send us to this rebellious world, we must obey and do that, we must be wise and at the same time we must be harmless, we must not give place to the devil, and last but not least, we must keep looking up to God, so we will always have that renewed hope!
4 Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, 6 not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 3:4-9 NKJV
The Dry Bones Live
One of the most favourite vision from the book of Ezekiel is the valley of dry bones Eze.37:1-14. The Spirit of the Lord brought Ezekiel and set him down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed, they were very dry. God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’” These dry bones also can be found around us, the condition where hope is lost. Book of Proverbs told us how a broken spirit dries the bones Pro.17:22 and how to help that is: “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy Pro.15:30.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’” Ezekiel 37:4-6 NKJV
We must bring revival to these dry bones. What can we say? We must learn to prophesy as the Bible and the Holy Spirit teach us. Paul said: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy 1Cor.14:1.”
2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 1Corinthians 14:2-4 NKJV
To prophesy is to declare the Word of God to others. The true hope comes from God. The true hope only can be found from the Word of God. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s words will by no means pass away Luk.21:33. Bible is definitely the breath of God 2Tim.3:16. Sometimes, people may think that Bible is not relate any more to this modern life in this modern world. However, there is a mighty power within the Word of God and we must not doubt about it. With our own strength and skill, we will never be able to create tendons and flesh to be put on the dried bones, but the Word of God can do that.
Without Ezekiel, God is more than able to bring all that dried bones come alive. But again, God always use us to be His fellow workers, to be the ambassador of revival, to bring the fresh hope.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
Revival is about bring the new hope for those who have no hope! Our hope must never be determined with our current condition! Even though all people who sat together with Ezekiel by the river were looking down without any hope, Ezekiel was looking up and see the heavens opened! We are called to be the ambassador of heavenly hope! We must always look up to the heaven. David wrote in his psalm: “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore, I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord Psa.27:6.”
Insights and impressions:
Hope is also translated as a cord or line! When Joshua sent spies to Jericho, they asked Rahab to bind the line (hope) of scarlet thread in her window Jos.2:18. Cord of hope must not be broken. Hope is more about present time, something that we must have now and everyday. Hebrews told us how to have a hope as an anchor that enters the Most Holy Place, behind the veil Heb.6:19!
First we must check if our bones being dry or not. We must have a fresh hope before we can revive others. The true hope come from the breath of God, from the Word of God and the works of the Holy Spirit. We need to abide in His presence more and be filled and refreshed with the new hope every time. Second, we may find lots of people around us who have no hope, we may already sit together with them for a long time just like Ezekiel sat together with other captives by the River Chebar. We must look up, open the eyes of our heart, see the glory of heaven, and then declaring the Word of God for them. We must open our mouth to prophesy, declaring the powerful Word from heaven, speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort with the power of Holy Spirit. The dried bones need to be transformed into an exceedingly great army. AMEN.