Can These Bones Live?
Our reading in Ezekiel 37:1-14 contains one of the most powerful and graphic visions in all of the Bible, given to Ezekiel for the Jews in Babylonian captivity. It is a vision of a valley of the dry bones that God brings to life!
These captives had turned their back on God, and He had judged them. Many of them were already dead, and the nation certainly was dead in Babylonian exile. The captives were scattered into small groups across the kingdom, and their homeland lay in ruins. They were like dry bones.
So many today feel just like these captives did. For them, nothing seems right, everything is difficult, and everything seems like it is always falling apart. Life is struggle, struggle, struggle and fail. The things most important to them are like dry bones: dead, dry, loveless marriages; dead zeal for the LORD where service and worship to him has become a burden and a drudgery; dead faith broken and scattered by trials, sicknesses, loss or persecution; a dead life focused on carnality with no joy or peace of hope—living for the weekend (and I don’t mean for Sunday services); dead churches merely punching the clock; or dead souls in need of salvation…
In a time like that, God says to Ezekiel through this vision, THERE IS HOPE TO BE FOUND! These people were wallowing in hopelessness, but God says that there is salvation to be found in HIM. The dry bones vision is about God’s power to bring life to death. Isn’t that just what so many need?
The question Ezekiel is asked in verse 3 is, “Son of Man, can these bones live?” The answer God gives is “YES!” (v3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14) Even more importantly, God gives us an idea of HOW! What does it take from us, for Him to revive us?
1. God knows the answers to all questions, but WE need to know in faith (Ezekiel 37:1-7). The common phrase is, “God only knows!” Yes, God only knows about some things, but there are many, many things WE are supposed to know. Our faith is not BLIND faith, but a KNOWLEDGEABLE faith. God has given us much that we can and SHOULD know!
2. At the same time, we need to obey God even when we don’t have to fully understand his purposes (Ezekiel 37:7-10). Many have to “know everything” before they’re willing to act in accordance with God’s commands. Even more, they have to have it “fit” in their preconceived ideas. Sometimes we just need to obey in faith, even if we don’t fully understand.
3. Everything they had trusted had let them down; they were stubborn in their refusal to turn to the only one who could deliver. In Ezekiel 2-3 God calls them impudent, stubborn, hard-headed, and rebellious over and over again! This vision says, if we will finally trust in God alone, instead of anything else, He will restore us (Ezekiel 37:11-14)!
Can these bones live? YES…If we will trust in the Lord.