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Dry Bones

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Ezekiel 37:3

Read Ezekiel 37:1-14

Have you ever experienced dryness in your life? Perhaps a time when you struggled in your marriage. A friend has disappointed you. You don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills. You’ve received some unwanted news from the doctor. Or, spiritually, you feel like God is far off.

Israel had carried many people from their homeland into Babylon. Ezekiel was among those exiled. The book is the story of his visions and prophecies spoken to the Israelites, those in Babylon, and those left behind in Judea. The people had become disconnected from God and each other; they were in extreme dryness.

God, by the Spirit, led Ezekiel by vision into a valley with “very dry” bones. Looking around, he saw sun-bleached bones strewn all around him. Nothing would indicate there had ever been life in them, nor would again. In today's verse, God asks him the question, “Is there any hope?” to which Ezekiel wisely responds, “God only you have the answer” (my paraphrase.)

God then commands Ezekiel to witness–to speak God's word–to the bones. As he begins, something extraordinary happens: the scattered bones begin to reassemble. As the old song “Dem Bones Dem Bones DemDry Bones” by the Delta Rythm Boes goes:

Ezekiel connected dem dry bones

Ezekiel connected dem dry bones

Ezekiel connected dem dry bones

Now I hear the word of the Lord

Well, your toe bone connected to your foot bone

Your foot bone connected to your heel bone

Your heel bone connected to your ankle bone

Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone

Your leg bone connected to your knee bone

Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone

Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone

Your hip bone connected to your back bone

Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone

Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone

Your neck bone connected to your head bone

I hear the word of the Lord!

Not only are the bones connected, but the Lord causes tendons and flesh to make them appear alive but yet without breath.

Again, the Lord commands Ezekiel to speak so they might be filled with God’s breath–the Spirit breathed in them. Obediently, once again, Ezekiel witnesses, and "They came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.”

When Jesus ascended, returning to the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit. God’s life-giving Spirit breathed into every believer. The same Spirit that Ezekiel breathed into those “very dry” bones dwells within us. The Spirit doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have periods of dryness. Sometimes, life brings us disappointments and challenges, but God’s promise is we never have to go through that valley of dry bones alone.

When we begin to experience that dryness, we can call upon God to restore and resurrect us–to cause a revival in our Spirit. True to his promise, God will breathe new life into us, resurrecting. From that dry bones place, we, like Ezekiel, are called to share the good news with others who might be in that place, as we accept that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Father God,

Thank you that in our dryness, you can see life. You never give up hope in us.

We only need to ask, and you breathe in us anew, your life-giving Spirit.

Help us to prophesy your word to the dry bones of this world so that they may believe and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.



Pastor Tim

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