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The Breath of Life

By Daniel Mayfield


I’m sure most of you all have seen finding Nemo, but there’s a funny line when all of the fish are gathered around watching the dentist perform his duties on a patient. One of the fish says, “The human mouth is a disgusting place.” It really kind of is. The majority of what proceeds from the mouth is unpleasant. 


Food can enter the mouth with great appeal, but within seconds it has lost the beauty of its original form. I watched as a little boy would chew his food, suck on it, and then spit it back out onto the plate. 


Without being too graphic, I’ll tell you about a time when I was eating at an Old Chicago pizza restaurant. We had just received our calzones, and then a little boy walked by our table and expelled everything he had eaten a few minutes earlier onto the floor. I gently scooted my plate away from me as my appetite was lost. 


Recently Miranda was watching two little boys in her classroom. One of them was being bossy and rude, trying to tell the other what he needed to do. During the whole of the conversation, Miranda watched as the other gently waved his hand in his face. She couldn’t quite tell what he was doing, but he continued as the other boy berated him. As soon as the boy stopped talking, the other said, “Your breath really stinks.” 


Nobody likes bad breath, but let’s be honest, we all have it! We’ve got to brush our teeth, and chew on gum to freshen up. I’m convinced that bad breath was part of the curse God placed on man after he sinned. Have you ever smelled a newborn baby with bad breath? Nope. Because they’re pure! Sinless!


Besides the physical nature of our mouths, the Bible talks a lot about the mouth in a spiritual sense. James says, “the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.”


In a sense, we can have spiritual bad breath when we allow cursing of any type to proceed. I’d like to contrast the foul nature of the human mouth with that of God. The Divine neither has bad breath, nor does he expel vomit from his mouth. 


Now, I was gone last week, but the lesson this morning will tie in with the lesson from the previous week. We talked a great deal about the 2 Timothy 3:16 passage, and the reality that this book is God breathed. It is not “inspired” as the English word would suggest, but it originated from God, and was transferred to paper through men by God. 


I want to introduce our subject by asking the question, “What happens when God breaths?” We have already established that God did, in fact, breath, and as a result we have these books we call the Bible before us today. But beyond that, what happens? Simply, life is given. The breath of God gives life. 



  1. God Breathed Life Into Adam

    1. It was day six, and the infant creation remained untainted by any form of impurity. To this point, all of creation was equal with that which was made before it. The soil of the earth was on an equal plane with the water of the seas. Those two elements were equally precious with the greater and lesser lights and every beast made by God. On day six, though, Jehovah would form the pinnacle of his creation. The common phrase ‘the best is saved for last’ would apply to this day of creation. With the most basic elements, watered soil, God formed the first man. How He did it is as much a mystery as His speaking creation into existence, but one can imagine the gentle hands of God combining clay to form the figure of man. Genesis 2:7 says, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground.” The word for “formed” can also be translated as “potter.” Either way, the process of creating man was far more intimate than the other acts of creation. See, everything prior to man was spoken into existence, but man was specifically formed by God’s hands.

    2. I remember the first funeral I ever attended. I remember cautiously approaching the casket, a bit concerned of what it might contain. As I peered over the walls of the finely decorated container, there was the man. No movement. Simply lifeless. This is how Adam laid in the garden of Eden. 

    3. Wanna guess what God did to bring life to the lifeless man? He breathed into him. The text says he “he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Imagine the breath of God’s mouth forcing its way through the nostrils of Adam, and making their journey through his air passages to fill his flat lungs like a balloon. Imagine Adam’s compulsory inclination to breathe in and open his eyes for the first time as God made him a living being. Had it not been for the breath of God, Adam would have remained lifeless on the ground. 

    4. When God breathes, he gives life. The very breath of God gives life. So long as God is breathing, life is in existence. 

  2. God Breathed Life Into Dry Bones 

    1. Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied (See, Ezekiel is speaking the words of the Lord and giving life through them!), there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezek. 37:4-11) 

    2. God breathes life! 

    3. This passage is likely my favorite in all of scripture. Can you picture it? 593BC, over 2600 years ago! Imagine yourself in that desert valley, beholding the thousands of sun baked bones of men who had gone before. Can you hear the clacking and rattling of thousands of sternums, and clavicles, and patella and tibia? Bones rolling over bones as they return to their owner. Each of them drawn together like magnets. And sinews and muscle are formed from thin air as they wrap themselves around the bones. Then covered with skin. And as the bodies lay there, the element of life is not one that can be grasped as we might hold a body. The element of life must be called upon specifically. And it must come from God. And so God breathed life into those bodies, and a powerful army, exceeding in number stood before Ezekiel. 

    4. When God breathes, life is given. 

  3. Further Passages About God’s Breath 

    1. After the misery that came upon Job, one of his friends said, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). Job lived before the law of Moses, so this concept was known from a very early point. 

    2. The passage I’d like to pay particular attention to for our lesson today is the passage we studied two weeks ago. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God breathed.” 

    3. Our understanding to this point is that God breathes life. And if these words are literally the breath of God, what would you expect for those who ingest these words? They would come alive.  

  4. Spiritual Implications For Us

    1. Nutrition 

      1. We live in a time where the world is obsessed with nutrition and health. Nearly every magazine at the store has a title suggesting we eat better, or exercise more to live a healthier life. 

      2. Schools are becoming more health conscious, and supplying fruits and veggies for snacks, whereas oreos and cheez-its are being replaced. Michelle Obama has had her hand in trying to limit the intake of McDonald’s french fries. Shame on her. I remember the first time I saw one of those new happy meals. They basically fill a dixie cup half full of french fries. 

      3. I worked out at a CrossFit gym in Oklahoma City, and some of the men and women I worked out with were incredible athletes. Their diet consisted of meat, vegetables, some fruit, and some nuts and seeds. That was it! 

      4. Imagine if we carried that level of nutrition into our spiritual lives! I’m convinced Joel O’Steen is the McDonald’s of spiritual nutrition. 

      5. Satan told Jesus to turn that stone to bread. But Jesus had the understanding that physical nutrition was nowhere near the importance of spiritual nutrition. Christ said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Man shall LIVE by the words that proceed from God’s mouth. God’s words give life! Man will live by them. 

      6. Before God sent Ezekiel to Israel, he said, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

        1. Remember, those scrolls were filled with the words of God. God wants his people on a steady diet of the Bible. 

      7. I remember seeing several little children in Africa with bloated little tummies. Molly can tell you that this is a sign of malnutrition. The little boys and girls weren’t getting what they needed, because they might only eat a few times a week. 

      8. I’m fairly certain that the majority of God’s people are suffering from spiritual malnutrition, with many getting their spiritual food only once or twice a week. This is why so many are dying or dead spiritually! They aren’t ingesting the words of life! I have a friend in the northeast who always refers to a Bible lesson as “his meal.” He always says, “I had a good meal today,” or, “I need a good meal.” 

      9. Man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. 

      10. These words give life! Now, God gave physical life to Adam through breathing into his nostrils. But do you wanna know how Adam died? He died the day he ingested the poisonous words of the devil. Satan said, “You shall surely not die,” to Eve. Eve took a bite, and her husband followed suit. All Satan did was change one word of God’s command. The Lord said, “The day you eat of it you shall surely die,” and satan said, “You shall surely not die.” How will you live if these words are not in you and on your heart? 

    2. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” We will pick up at this point next week. Let not yourself die when you could have abundant life. The words of this book ought to be your life. 

© Finding Canaan. All rights reserved. "Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who steal my words from one another" -- Jeremiah 23:30

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