For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland — Isaiah 43.19 (New Living Translation)
As the Bethel Musicians walked into the press conference on Thursday September 15 2016 I felt history was being rewritten on the grounds of the Voortrekker Monument. Seated on hallowed ground I had my ear tuned for the sound from heaven for South Africa.
Amanda Cook shared parts of her life story and there in the midst of her story was the resonance with South Africa –Ezekiel 37. My heart began racing. The Valley of Dry Bones. Twenty minutes earlier I had stood in the barren auditorium crying before the Lord for our nation: “Could these bones live, could they come alive? Lord would you move by your Spirit through this land and come breathe life again?”
Like many a prophet, Amanda Cook always wanted to partner with the Lord with music, singing and prophesying into situations where only the Lord can bring breakthroughs.
I raised my hand in triple succession lest I miss the chance and the vital moment to ask a deeper question, I felt the weight of the Spirit so heavily on me as I stood to ask: “Referring to Ezekiel 37, Amanda, and the rest of the musicians. Do you feel the impact and weight of prophesying in song on our nation? Have you felt it before you left, regarding the valley of dry bones and our nation, and what do you have to say?”
Without hesitation Jeremy Riddle asked to answer the question and as he did the atmosphere in the room shifted and was filled with the presence of the Lord. Humbly he said: “It’s everything to us. We recognise the weight that’s on them, the power that’s on a song. We want to partner with what God is doing in this nation. He has such a peculiar way of working and I don’t know and understand why and how He chooses to work, but somehow He chooses to work with us.
“We all feel incredible humility even being here and somehow making this event happen but we feel we know it’s bigger than us. We know the Lord is doing something great in South Africa and every single time I come here — I think it’s my third time — I have felt the Lord do something so significant and every South African I’ve ever interacted with — and there are quite a few who come to the school of ministry in Bethel — wow, you guys are marked with something remarkable, there’s something remarkable on your nation.
“It hasn’t come to fruition yet. But the way you are going to mark the world. I believe that South Africans will mark the continent of Africa in a remarkable way, but it’s just being ignited. There’s challenge, there’s attack, there’s so much. There’s intensity over this nation. But there’s so much promise.
“I feel it, I feel the Lord release it every time we come here. It’s a people that are singing from a different place. South Africans sing from a different place. They carry such a weight — so, yes, so we’re always listening. I get all my people and ask them ‘what are you hearing, what are you seeing?’ Words from the Lord, they are life, they are everything for us, we’re trying to steward. And if we steward that, we see lasting life and impact. That’s why we’re here.”
With tears of gratitude every sinew shook in my body knowing our King of all Kings would be enthroned upon the praises of a thousand generations, not only in South Africa but across the continent, as has been prophesied over and over and again. I don’t really remember the rest of the press conference as I sat bathed in a glow of God’s promise for South Africa and Africa and I knew that we were so close to the breakout of the promised revival.
I could feel it in my bones. Somewhere around me cameras were clicking, lights were flashing and I could vaguely hear the voices of people talking. My body was so alive to God I could have run a marathon and all I could say with a tear-stained face, looking into the eyes of these beautiful musicians, was a simple but honest deep heart felt “Thank you”.
Later Eric Allen (BSSM) closed the press conference with these words which are so worth noting: “We are coming here on the dawn of reconciliation. The true heart of worship. I speak a blessing over every part of South Africa. I pray for an increase. I pray for every good thought that every person has in this country. I pray that you bless every vision. That Lord you begin to breathe on these people that you would bless the heart of this nation, that Lord you would begin to accelerate your move. Increase like never before in Jesus name.”
What followed was a night that will live and stay with me as long as I have breath. The ground shook and 20 000 worshippers stood to raise their voice, worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ in one accord.
“Be enthroned upon the praises
Of a thousand generations
You are worthy. Lord of all
Unto You, the slain and risen King
We lift our voices with heaven singing
Worthy, Lord of all”
Extract from the Album Have It All — Jeremy Riddle, Bethel Music
“… the bones covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. … Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them…. Then he said … “Come, O breath, from the four winds” … They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. [from Ezekiel 37]