Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds…
I. FORMS WITHOUT LIFE. The work had reached an advanced stage even before the prophecy of the breath. Separate bones had been fitted and articulated together, flesh was laid upon the skeleton, and skin covered it. This was Divine, not human work. The prophet had spoken the message, but God had given the power. Yet these forms were powerless, for all the purposes of life, until quickened by the breath.
1. There may be a Divine work upon the natures of men, which shall, nevertheless, stop short of spiritual life. Let two men come before you. One is opposed to Divine truth, or, at least, is utterly indifferent to it. Science attracts him; politics stir him; art charms him; music fascinates him; commerce absorbs him. But the Bible is without beauty or power to him; it has no place in his thoughts, and exercises no influence in his life. Let another stop forward. He has a perfect understanding of the Cross of Christ, and the work which was done there; he is able to explain to you very clearly how a soul may be justified before God through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The study of the subject is a recreation to him. He knows how to be justified with God, but has never sought justification. He knows that he must be born again, but has never prayed to be regenerated. In that man we see a beginning of the work of God. God has opened his mind to understand the great truths connected with the Gospel of Christ. He knows them all, and in those truths he has the vantage ground for spiritual action.
2. These forms possess all the capabilities of life. You have all the faculties for reverence, trust, and loving consecration; you understand how to use these powers in every direction of your life, save in that one upward direction that looks towards God. You have faith and love toward those around, and consecration to those who are dear; but to God, no trust, no love, no dedication. You are without spiritual life. The very development of these capabilities is an element of hope. Simply receive Christ, and God has given you all the capabilities that are necessary. Only your connection with Christ is wanted to attain spiritual life.
3. Yet, prior to the breath, these forms are powerless for all the purposes of life. You may pay homage to the beauty of truth and Christian principles; you may even speak reverently and tenderly of the loveliness of Christ — you can hardly help doing that; if you have any susceptibility, you can hardly withhold from Jesus the meed of praise — but these will not avail if there be no spiritual life. This is not only true of the individual Christian, but also of the Christian Church. No correctness of form and appearance will avail without spiritual life. I would rather belong to a Church that has some blunder in its organisation, but, at the same time, is endowed with the vigour of the Holy Ghost, than I would belong to some correct organisation in which there is no spiritual life and strength.
II. THE INSPIRATION OF LIFE.
1. The working of the Holy Spirit is as essential to salvation as the work of Jesus. You will not be conscious always of His working. You will only be conscious of certain feelings in your own heart. If you should feel an anxious desire to serve Christ, and to love Him, be sure it comes from the Spirit. Act upon it. Find your way to Christ.
2. The Holy Spirit does work in response to the prayer of God's servant, for we read that the prophet prophesied to the breath, and the breath came.
(1) The Holy Spirit is the great hope of the Church today. If it was necessary three centuries ago that God should raise up Luther to press the great truth of justification by faith, it is needful today that the work of the Holy Spirit should be presented in all its grandeur, and that the Church should be roused to plead for His mighty power. It is in answer to prayer that the Holy Spirit will work.
(2) The Holy Spirit's work is as essential for personal salvation as it is for the Church.
(Colmer B. Symes, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.