The Holy Spirit At Work ~
THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK
~ as revealed in Ezekiel 37
By Rodney W. Francis
We are living in days when the Holy Spirit is seeking to reveal more of His ways to those who will be willing to follow Him. His ways are very different to man’s ways and so we need to learn what He is saying and requiring of us so we can have the greatest impact with our lives and ministries today. In Ezekiel 37 we read of Ezekiel’s experience with the Holy Spirit and the miraculous results when he obeyed what the Holy Spirit told him. Ezekiel experienced the hand of the Lord being upon him and he was led by the Holy Spirit out to a valley that was full of dry bones. The Scripture says “there were very many and indeed they were very dry” (verse 2). The Holy Spirit asked Ezekiel if those dead, dry bones could live. Ezekiel’s response was, “O Lord God, You know” (verse 3). To the natural mind, what God was asking Ezekiel was impossible. Those bones were very dry and very dead! God then told Ezekiel to prophesy to those bones and tell them to hear the word of the Lord! Bones do not have ears! Dead dry bones do not have anything! What God was asking Ezekiel to say and do was totally illogical ~ in today’s terms, crazy! But this is what the Holy Spirit is able to say and do when He has a willing, yielded vessel to work through. Ezekiel had learned that the ways of the Lord were right, and that whatever God says is true and possible to achieve. Ezekiel was not locked into a natural mind-set that prevented him from being the man of faith, a man of the Spirit who would achieve things through total obedience to whatever God said to him
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Can you put yourself in Ezekiel’s shoes? There you are out in a valley that has thousands of dead, dry bones lying all around and God tells to you to prophesy to them and tell them to hear and listen to what you are saying. Imagine further if there were people watching you and wondering what on earth you were doing out there. You have a decision to make: do you believe your own natural logical thinking and ignore the voice of God ~ or is your relationship with the Holy Spirit so real and strong that you know it is “better to obey than to sacrifice”? (1 Samuel 15:22). Ezekiel had learned to trust the Holy Spirit no matter what. So the Holy Spirit was able to speak to Ezekiel to say and do things that He could not ask others to say or do. We have to be in a place with God where He can speak to us and ask us to do things that “do not make sense” to our natural minds. It is then that we see the miracles of God taking place. The evidence of spiritual maturity is that we are willing to do whatever God asks of us, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem to the natural mind. In New Covenant language: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). To be led means we are willing to trust and follow the One Who is leading us.
EZEKIEL PROPHESIED AS HE WAS COMMANDED
Ezekiel obeyed the Holy Spirit and began to speak out in prophecy what the Holy Spirit told him to. That is what prophesying is: it is speaking a “now word” from the heart of God to whoever and/or whatever God is telling us to. As we shall see, the true gift of prophecy releases things to happen supernaturally and changes things from impossibilities to possibilities! But first God has to find someone who is willing to prophesy what He declares! In this case Ezekiel was told to prophesy to dead, dry bones. When Ezekiel obeyed and spoke out, somehow those bones had a means of hearing what he said! Can you imagine that? Bones with ears on! Ezekiel’s obedience in prophesying released the supernatural of God and suddenly those dead dry bones began to scuttle across the desert and united themselves into skeletons! (Some Holy Spirit ministry is not for the faint-hearted)! Notice how the Scripture puts it: “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone” (verse 7, NKJV). The power of God was released into those bones through prophecy and the now-formed skeletons miraculously grew skin and sinews (exactly as God said would happen if he prophesied)! Suddenly Ezekiel had thousands of dead bodies lying all around him! But there was no breathe in them. At that point Ezekiel had dead bodies instead of bones, as there was still no breath or life in them. God then told Ezekiel to prophesy to the four winds and command them to come and breathe on those bodies, that they may live (v.9). This time Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded of God ~ not to the bones but to the four winds (one would think that he would have needed to prophesy to those dead bodies). There is a lesson here for us prophetic people not to get caught-up into doing things the same way every time. We need to be listening to the Holy Spirit sensitively enough so we can hear and pick-up on any change of direction and instructions that He speaks to us. Ezekiel heard what the Spirit asked him to do and so he prophesied to the four winds and commanded them to come and breathe over those dead bodies. They did as Ezekiel commanded them and the breath of God entered into them; suddenly new life permeated those bodies and they sat up, got up and walked! They became “an exceedingly great army” (v. 10)! An absolute miracle! A supernatural happening because God found a man who was willing and committed to listening to the voice of God and obeying, regardless of how unnatural it was he was asked to do.
PROPHESYING RELEASES THE SUPERNATURAL
We see from these Scriptures that when a man (or woman) prophesies in obedience to the voice of God that it releases things to happen in a supernatural way. It was humanly impossible that those dead, dry bones could be formed into restored human bodies, and rise up and live again. But it happened because someone obeyed God! I have seen and experienced some miraculous results of my prophesying when God told me to. I saw forty percent of a whole area come to Christ in Vanuatu after God told me to release the people to prophesy. It all happened in four days! It was amazing and everyone knew that God was in the place. His power and presence was awesome! On other occasions I have seen crowds gather quickly after God told me to prophesy. I have seen scores of people released to function in Holy Spirit ministry as a result of listening to the voice of the Lord! The prophetic ministry opens up to us possibilities in God that come no other way. Yet far too often we are ignorant ~ and therefore we under-value ~ the prophetic ministry and operation of the Spiritual Gifts. We do this to our loss!
HOW DID THOSE BONES BECOME DRY AND DEAD? BY A NEGATIVE CONFESSION!
Those bones were not always dead! Something happened that caused life to be sapped out of those bodies, and leave them scattered all over the valley floor as dead, dry bones. It was because of a negative confession! Let the Scripture speak: “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!’” (v.11). Sad to say but there is much negative confession going on in “Christian circles” these days. Many do not know who they are in Christ Jesus; they look to natural circumstances more than to the promises of God; they doubt the voice of God, and therefore do not obey God. Then they wonder why Christianity does not “deliver” like they expect it to. It all comes down to a personal relationship between us and God the Holy Spirit. Christianity is a “total commitment” to Jesus Christ and we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God in order to fulfil His will in our lives. Many teachings within Christian Churches are negative and so do not inspire faith, i.e. these things are not for today, etc. Let the Scriptures be your basis for believing, because they are they that confirm to us whether or not we really are hearing the voice of God (as God will never violate the principles of His Word). If we really want to grow in God and be used by Him, then we need to be fellowshipping where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work! Tradition and religiosity are in opposition to the supernatural power of God. Therefore we have to make decisions that will take us closer to the supernatural of God rather than allowing doubt and unbelief to rob us of wonderful God-encounters with miraculous results.
Did you notice what God did with those once-dead, very dry bones? He miraculously restored them and turned them into a marching army for His Glory. A totally impossible feat for man to do – but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Jesus also declared to His followers: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). God delights in doing the impossible, and He desires that we will listen to what He says, and then obey whatever it is that He asks of us. When we do that, then we will have the joy and privilege of being used of God in ways that will surprise and amaze us. He is looking for men and women who will be committed to obeying Him! His heart is to bring life out of death, to restore and revive those with negative confessions that have “killed” them spiritually; then to raise them up as His active, obedient and marching army who will go forth at His command to do and to fulfil His plans and purposes on the earth today. The big question is:
Are we willing to co-operate with a miracle-working God Who desires to use us to be a part of His miracle-working ways, so others will have a believing and faith that is established on the miraculous through the Holy Spirit being alive and active through us, the believers?
GOD IS RAISING UP A RESTORED SUPERNATURAL ARMY IN THESE DAYS!
Make sure you are a part of it!