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8 Min Read

Spirit and Sinews

Published on

February 20, 2023

The quest for national transformation and emancipation always begins with a seed of belief. That seed of belief, though a flicker of light in a seemingly dark place, becomes so compelling, commands its carriers attention to zone in their focus, throw in their energy and all they have until the light grows so big that it envelopes the seemingly overwhelming darkness around. One profound depiction of this in scripture is the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem by the Israelites as led by Nehemiah. The Bible mentions that each person took a portion of the wall and adorned himself with a personal responsibility to rebuild, to repair, to protect and to maintain.

This begs the question, what makes a man so committed, so compelled as to give all he has. What makes him hope against hope, choosing to believe in the flicker of light over the overwhelming darkness. Why did Nehemiah continue to disregard naysayers like Tobias and Sanballat both of whom were speaking from stark reality? What makes a man or woman that stubbornly inspired? And then I found that the answer, as I read through Ezekiel 37, is in a compelling vision.

In verse 10 & 11, we see that the prophecy speaks about the whole house of Israel, an entire nation and the paradoxical story of that exceeding great army quickened from a valley of dry bones, but let’s track back a bit.

In the prophetic account of Ezekiel 37, God brought Ezekiel to a valley full of many bones. As Ezekiel straddled the valley excited at the weight of potential that was before him, the next picture that Ezekiel was presented with showed that though the bones were many, they were dry. It wasn’t enough that the bones were in a valley, the lowly estate was further compounded with the aridity of the environment that seemed to stifle out life and virtue from the bones.

Of course, as you would imagine, every excitement and hope stimulated by seeing such potential was doused by the fact that the potential was so far hidden perhaps even eroded in such grim context.. The bones were very dry.

It’s in the face of such hopeless sight, that God asks Ezekiel the most defining and ironical question, can these bones live? He was asking Ezekiel, would you allow yourself to be distracted by the potential of the bones enough to disregard the lowliness of the environment and the dryness of the situation. Would you allow the possibilities of what these bones carry be louder than the degradation that surround them? Would you refuse to allow your vision be a victim and prisoner of the dire circumstances around?

I’m sure it was the tussle between the stark reality of hopelessness staring him in the face and little flicker of belief in the potential of the bones that lay before him that made him turn to God, to lend insight from the level of Omniscience that only God can boast of especially in such situations to say, You know. You see in such situations, to plug into what only He knows is to plunge yourself into the experience of what only He can do.

The response of God to Ezekiel’s statement was not a 5-hour lecture explaining what God saw. Instead, God asks Ezekiel to Prophesy that God’s breath would come upon the bones and they would live. At first hearing, you would assume a rushed, haphazard and almost instant awakening of the bones but what I find instructive is the order of this prophetic procession, much the same way as the God accredited the building of the wall to Ezra no less than he inspired Nehemiah to work on the walls

So after Ezekiel spoke, we first see a rattling and an alignment of bones, next thing we see was flesh over bones. Then Ezekiel prophesies the second time and then the breath came and the army, in reality, aligned with the prophecy; They lived.

Before the emergence of an army is the making of said army. The first thing we see is a noise and a rattling, an aversion for dissatisfaction, a yearn for their true identity; the bones, jolted from their meagre reality. They were told, you are more than this!

Beyond the noise was structural alignment, the bones came together, then he overlaid it with flesh — softer elements of integrity, trust, before they then came alive. The progressive reformation of the Spirit in national transformation is to understand that the secular and sacred are necessary for restoration. That the work of the Spirit is first structure and a system of ingrained values both working in accord to host the move in and of righteousness.

After the Spirit of God hovered upon the deep, the first thing that came was enlightenment and a series of structural enhancements that could uphold the Zenith of God’s creation and accomodate the blessing.

What is actually funny is the tone of the prayer and how that is often misconstrued as an ‘immediate’ miracle. God asked Ezekiel to say ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!’ But after that came an actual work of transformation before the rising of the great Army. The emergence of the blessing does not exclude the grunt work of the process and the concept of favour is not blessing on empty shells, that’s a chronic misrepresentation of tenets God Himself upholds.

You want to be mega and you want it to be happen overnight. Friends, to pray to God for prosperity is to be ready to restructure our lives by the help of the Spirit to accommodate it and for Nigeria to arise as the great army that she truly is, there’s a need to re-embrace structure, strengthened by elements of integrity, commitment, justice and trust. That’s how we start on our journey to a Reformed and Transformed Society.

The same way God appeared to Ezekiel and led him to the valley of bones, is the same way He appears to each and everyone asking us what do you see? Which Nigeria, which Africa or which situational context do you see, do you allow yourself to be distracted and dejected the lowly and dry state or do you allow yourself to be strengthened by the vision of her bone, her potential and what she can be.

Does that flicker of light push you to activate the structural process of prophecy where you prat and then beyond praying, you campaign, canvass and insist on structure and social contexts of righteousness in your personal spaces, layering it with integrity, commitment, justice and trust.

Don’t think yourself too small to make a change, think of yourself as a candle lit up so you can light another. You cannot export a structure you haven’t produced in your personal life. To insist on structure is to bear up the responsibility to live by it.

Have a productive week

Olayinka Adebayo

@layinkadebayo

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