”Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! …I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.” (Ezekiel 37:4-5)
Have you ever felt like you were in a dry season, like you were in the valley of death? In Ezekiel 37, the prophet Ezekiel has a crazy vision unlike any other in the Old Testament about God giving hope in a hopeless place. Ezekiel was led by the Spirit to the middle of a valley. And this valley was full of bones, very dry bones. These bones represented God’s people slain by their sin, because Israel had devoted themselves to idols instead of God. In fact, God’s people were exiled from their land, feeling abandoned and hopeless.
It was then that the Spirit asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”
“Lord God, only you know” was Ezekiel’s reply. We tend to say the safe answer when our arms are folded together or feel injured.
So the Spirit told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! … I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live” (37:4-5) And breath entered the bones. Tendons and flesh grew on the bones, along with skin. After the bones and flesh filled in, there stood a vast army, resurrected from the dead! What a crazy vision Ezekiel was experiencing!
We might be wondering why this crazy vision? And also how could the dead be raised to life? We discover how in the remainder of this passage. We find out that this hopeful vision of resurrection will come from one king in David’s line who will be a shepherd over God’s people (37:24). He will serve God wholeheartedly, bring God’s scattered people back home, and reign as their prince forever. Moreover, God will make a covenant of peace and dwell among His people again (37:26-27)!
This story in Ezekiel 37 is an Old Testament foretaste of the life joined to Jesus. As we hope in Christ, we are raised with Him. Paul writes to the Ephesians that we all were dead in our trespasses, slain by our sin. But God in his mercy and love made us alive with Christ!
Therefore, because of grace, where there was death, dryness and demise in our days, God now gives life and faith. And now, because of grace, where there was stillness and sadness, God gives love, hope, peace and joy. Because of grace, we are equipped and clothed in God’s armor together as soldiers in a battle not against flesh and blood but the spiritual heavenly forces. Because of grace in Christ, we are no longer slain but we can hope again. No matter where you are, if you are in Christ, you can hope again.