“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'Sovereign Lord, you alone know.' Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me: 'Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel.' They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.' ” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Can you imagine a time when all hope was lost? When you felt powerless and your dreams were dead? When even the future appeared bleak and nothing you could do would change that? When Ezekiel prophesied this to the nation of Israel, they were in this very position––hopeless, powerless, and apathetic. They had been forced to leave their Promised Land and was exiled to live in Babylon over 1,600 miles away. (That’s nearly the distance from Los Angeles to Chicago!) Their great temple had been ransacked and destroyed. All they had known––any sense of comfort, familiarity, and dreams of a bright future––seemed gone. All hope seemed to be lost.
Bones often symbolize death. They are the last earthly traces of living creatures that are left after the body decomposes. Bones evoke feelings of gloom, sorrow, and hopelessness. While bones are an omen that any sign of life is far gone to humans, to God, bones are an opportunity for resurrection.
God shows Ezekiel that when we believe in God and His almighty power, when we trust in His plan, and when we see the hopeless parts of our life as potential for God to move in our lives, we give Him with the opportunity to resurrect what’s seemingly dead and breathe new life into those places. However, for God to move, we must first take action. Not only must we believe there is a possibility for hope in these lifeless things––we must command them to breathe and come back to life. When we do, we give God the opportunity to bring those dry bones to life. And even if He doesn’t, we still find hope knowing that His plans are higher, better, and greater than ours, because true hope is found solely in Him alone.
Do you have any dry bones in your life? Situations that feel too great to overcome? People that make you feel powerless? A past that has left you ashamed? If you do, it is my pleasure to tell you that there is hope!
Like the Lord showed Ezekiel, these dry bones represent the dead, hopeless parts of our lives. Maybe it’s your relationships, your family, your finances, your school or workplace, perhaps it’s even a dream for your life that you’ve thrown away. Trust God fully with those dry bones, knowing that the same God who showed Ezekiel that dead bones could be restored to life is the same God who is alive and who loves you today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When all hope seems lost, believe that God is not only able to restore hope to those dead places; He is able to bring new life to those places! Like God instructed Ezekiel, command those dry bones to come alive. And when you do, watch and see what He will do.
Thank You for being a God who sees us, who loves for us, and in whom anything is possible. Today, we give to You the dead, hopeless parts of our lives, knowing that true hope is found in You and You alone. God we give these things to You knowing that You can do anything with them. If it is Your will, please bring these dry bones to life, and even if it is not, we still trust You knowing that the plans You have for us are not to harm us, but to give us a future and a hope. Thank You for being a God who restores, resurrects, and renews.
In Jesus’ name,