The army did not manifest on their own accord, they were spoken into existence (Ezekiel 37:1-10). The original material that the prophet had to work with were dry bones. The situation was dire to say the least. When the word of God “met” the dry bones, they became a mighty army but not in a moment. It was a process. At the start, all there was were dry bones is because the “dead” situation had prevailed for a long time.
Jesus spent a period of three years with the disciples before they were ready to experience the Holy Spirit and stand on their own feet as a mighty army.
The first thing that needed to be done with the bones was for bones to align with the appropriate bone. That is about coming to the knowledge of the truth. It is line upon line, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:13). Jesus before his death told his disciples that they were clean by the word he had spoken to them (John 15:3).
He also told the father that the words he has given him he had delivered to them. They have great things ahead of them, but it will not happen except in alignment with his truth. The word of God is line upon line precept upon precepts, shaping us rightly, as the bone gives the basic shape of the body.
Jesus said the believers should be taught all the things he has told the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20). And in the book of Hebrews we read that some people remained immature because they did not know what they should know in spiritual knowledge (Hebrews 5:11-14).
The spiritual ladder is all about knowledge. Getting knowledge stage by stage, it is laborious. It is not instantaneous. The whole interaction between the word and the people making them into a great army is over a period of time. For the exceptional work of the gospel that Paul did in the land of Ephesus he was there for a period of two years and the bible says so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed (Acts 19:1-23).
After the bones align together, the sinews came to cover the body and skin also, all in response to the declaration of the word of God. The covering is about taking functional shape, and this has to do with gaining understanding of our spiritual purpose, it is about being formed to perform specific task. We are the pot, God is the potter. The potter forms the pot into the shape that pleases him (Jeremiah 18:1-6).
When looking at the bones that is where the commonality ends among human beings, the bones are all whitened after they have been exposed to the sun for a long time. But when the muscle and sinews and the skin covered the bones, we see the distinction, the colour of the skin, the height, the hairline, the colour of the eyes, and the numerous things that we are different from the other. Paul wrote a lot about the gifts and grace we all have, how that makes us distinct from each other as different parts of the body of Christ (Romans 12).
The third and last part of the transformation from bones into great army has to do with the infusion of the Holy Spirit. Every other thing is meaningless without the Holy Spirit. The army that was formed was a great force, with nothing in common with the bones we saw originally. Extreme transformation has taken place by the Spirit and the word working together. The difference was made by the combination of the word of God and the Spirit of God, between these two, anything is possible.
The Holy Spirit speaks of activity, ability, potential, functions. The army God is raising is a spiritual army, fearless group, shaped in the crucible of the Holy Spirit. Time spent in prayer is time spent in the crucible of the Holy Spirit in the presence of God.
God said to a group of people: you are my battle axe and weapon of warfare (Jeremiah 51:20). Every weapon is formed in the fire. Every weapon is metallic. In another place, ploughshare was said to be changed into spears as the people prepared for war (Joel 3:9-10), that involved a lot of heat.
No one should go to war without absolute devotion to the cause. In the Old Testament, anyone is exempted from war duties if newly married or has a fiancée, or if he has just built a house (Deuteronomy 20:1-9). You are not meant to be on the war front and not pay full attention, and not willing to give your life because of some attachment. Without absolute resolve, one will easily run away from the forefront.
So the army the Holy Spirit is raising at this time will be those who have single-minded devotion. They did not look back. Jesus said that the one who lays his hands on the plough and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom (Luke 9:62). There is no allowance for the being double minded. The double-minded man, James wrote, is unstable, and such a man should not think that he will receive anything from God (James 1:4-8), nor can he walk with God.
When a group of people assembled themselves to Gideon numbering over 30,000, the fearful were asked to go back and they numbered more than half of the original number (Judges 7). We are not a formidable force if we are not united to the cause, and we will not be united when some are fearful.
Paul told Timothy: God has not given you a spirit of fear but of love, power and sound mind, it is by that Spirit that we move on and wage successful warfare (2Timothy 1:6-7). God told Zerubbabel; it is not by power, nor by might but by the Holy Spirit.
That is why Moses said to God: if your presence will not go with us take us not from here (Exodus 33:15). He does not want to risk moving on without the presence of God which the Holy Spirit typifies. It will be too risky a journey. In the time of Moses in the wilderness, those who presumed to want to take on the enemy without the absolute assurance that God was with them came back bloodied, and some of them died (Numbers 14:42-45).