Ezekiel 37:1–14 (NKJV)
37:1 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
This chapter contains two analogous stories to demonstrate what God intends to do for and with Israel and Judah. This first story involves the valley of dry bones, and the second the two sticks. In this first half of the chapter, the Lord takes Ezekiel out to a valley full of bones and asks if they can live again. Ezekiel had seen too much from God to doubt Him, so he deferred to God’s knowledge and will (a lesson for us all).
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
While God already intended for this valley to come to life, He offered Ezekiel the opportunity to be involved in the process. God offers us opportunities every day to be part of the process of redemption and healing in a lost and hurting world. Ezekiel prophesied life to the bones, and they reconnected, and muscles and flesh reformed, and skin covered them. But there was no breath.
9 Also 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 breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Ezekiel then prophesied to the four winds to come and breath life into the bodies, and they rose up and lived, in appearance like a great army. It is one thing to have a body, but without breath, or life, the body is useless. The church must have breath and life (the presence of the Holy Spirit) in order to be useful and purposeful in this world.
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ”
The Lord then applies this vision, or actual miracle, to the situation surrounding Judah at that time. They are in “graves,” which describes their captivity. God promises to bring them out of their graves and restore them to their land, put His Spirit within them, and raise them up as a great army again.
Whatever you may have done to find yourself in a “grave” of captivity, know that God will bring you out when you repent. Even if you did nothing to deserve your “grave,” know that God can bring you out again. God is a God of restoration and help. So, in the grave in which you find yourself, pray and believe, for the prophetic Spirit will cry out, “Come Alive!”
Check out tomorrow’s blog for the second analogy, the two sticks.