Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!’ … Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” Ezekiel 37:4, 9

Two things happen here. First Ezekiel prophesies to the dry bones, “hear the Word of the Lord” and there is an amazing response. Bones come together, tendons and flesh appear, but they are like dead men. The word of the Lord, as we find it in the Bible, is powerful. His word can encourage, motivate, and inspire us. But it’s not enough. Ezekiel describes the people as being like dead men (verse 8).

Second, Ezekiel prophesies to the breath and the breath enters them and they come to life, a vast army. If we’re feeling dry or even spiritually dead, we need two things. The word of the Lord, and his breath, his Spirit, to bring us to life.

Sometimes we opt for one of these things and not the other. We commit to studying God’s word, knowing that it will bring truth into our situation, but don’t seek God’s enabling to help us to understand and apply it. Or we might ask for God’s Spirit to breathe on us, but don’t have enough of God’s truth in our lives to understand how God works through his people. This can lead to false expectations and disillusionment when God doesn’t come through for us in the way we expect.

For us, to become the vast army that God intends requires the word of God to equip us and his Spirit to enable us.