Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt hopeless? Despite your best efforts, do things seem to remain unchanged? Today we will see the danger of hopelessness and how to overcome it.
Ezekiel was a prophet during one of Israel’s dark periods (see Ezekiel 37). In captivity and will be under the oppression of the Babylon Empire for 70 years, hope is deflated.
After several failed attempts at overthrowing Babylon, the people were displaced from their homes, the temple was destroyed, and the walls of Jerusalem were in rubble.
Yet, Israel’s revolving bouts with captivity and being displaced from their promised land were not because God could not defend them. Instead, it resulted from the people rejecting God and worshipping false gods.
Captivity was not an overnight event.
God repeatedly appealed to the people through the prophets to repent and return to Him, but they rejected the message and the prophets. So Israel learned the hard way that without God, they were defenseless against the kingdoms of this world.
When we step out of God’s will, we remove ourselves from God’s favor, protection, and blessings. The cost of living life our way is to surrender God’s favor and invite hard times.
Here in Ezekiel 37, multiple generations have only known captivity. While most are losing heart, God gets ahold of Ezekiel’s heart by giving him a vision of hope to share with the people. In this vision, God takes Ezekiel in the Spirit and to a valley.
Valleys are synonymous with hard times. Nothing good ever happens in a valley. So God shows this young prophet a valley full of “very dry” bones.
- This valley illustrates their utter hopelessness and the devastation of several failed attempts to overthrow the Babylonians.
- The very dry bones symbolize how long Israel has been in captivity.
So God asks Zeke a question, “Can these bones live.” In the natural, the answer is simple, no.
The prevailing thought about death in the Old Testament was that it was final. Death was understood as being cut off from God.
But to God’s question, Ezekiel responds, “O LORD God, you know.” What this means is, God, you can do anything.
Ezekiel’s faith in God opened the door for him to see God do supernaturally what was impossible to do in the natural. Faith demands that you believe before you can see.
God then commands Ezekiel, “4… “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” The word “prophesy” has two distinct meanings in the Bible.
To prophesy was both fore-telling and forth-telling.
- Fore-telling was to speak of things that were going to happen.
- Forth-telling was to repeat the things that God had communicated.
This vision God gives Ezekiel is to revive the Israelites who have lost hope in God. After being in captivity for so long, they feel as if things will never change.
There is no expiration date on God’s power to restore. As Ezekiel obeyed and prophesied what God commanded, bones began to rattle, and flesh came upon them! So then, God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy that the four winds would breathe life into those bodies.
When God breathes life into us, we become alive, our dreams restored, and hope revived. This is the same God whom we serve today. He makes all things new.
Here are three ways God is actively restoring and reviving.
We all have a common issue, sin. We see this played out in minor and major ways. Our sin issue must be resolved.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17
God has not given up on humanity. On the contrary, he loves us with an everlasting, unending, and complete love.
If you’re separated from God today, you should know He is not mad at you but loves you and is ready and willing to forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
If you are praying for a loved one who seems so far gone that you wonder if they will ever turn to God, God is in the restoration business and wishes that none perish, but all come to repentance.
#2 God is restoring His gifts and callings.
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29
Maybe you told yourself that after I get my degree or settled in life and married, then I’ll pursue God’s call.
Whatever you put before your calling will never completely satisfy you. There will always be this void, a feeling like you’re not where you should be, no matter how much success you have. This is because God created you with a specific purpose.
God does not recall the call. But, you’re never too young, nor is it too late to step into God’s tailored purpose.
#3 God is restoring dreams
Discouragement, hopelessness, or failure can be dream killers.
Maybe years ago, you had big dreams for your life, but then life happened, and you put those dreams on hold. Perhaps the dream felt too big for you, and you were intimidated by its size. Maybe someone talked you out of it or discouraged you from pursuing it.
Proverbs 16:9 says that man makes plans, but God orders our steps. If that dream was from God, He will reorder those steps.
Israel felt hopeless because they were displaced from Jerusalem, and the temple was destroyed. God was showing Ezekiel how His power is not limited by captivity or geography.
He is Almighty God!