Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’” — Ezekiel 37:11 (NIV84)
This is one of my favorite sections in all of the Scriptures. The Lord was showing Ezekiel the condition of the people of Israel by showing them a valley full of dry, dead bones. The prophet heard the dry bones speak, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone.” It couldn’t get any worse than this. Their condition was hopeless. They were dead! One must ask, how did they end up in this condition? Weren’t they the children of God? They left the Lord their God and began to pursue their own interests. They decided to become the definers of their own existence. Sound familiar? And now they were dead. They were separated from the very One who made them who they were. They chose death over life and were then characterized as dry bones at the bottom of a valley. They didn’t get there through valiant deadly warfare. No, they got themselves in this condition because of the spiritual and moral choices they had made over many generations. And now their condition was hopeless!
So Ezekiel was asked, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Of course the answer was no. They were dead! But not from God’s perspective. Even in the midst of God’s divine judgment, there was a reason for hope. Ezekiel was told to prophesy to the bones and speak the Word of God to the bones and the bones began to come together and form bodies. Just like in creation, God’s Word had the power to make things happen. Ezekiel then prophesied to the Spirit and the Spirit came and breathed into the bodies, and they came to life. Here is our reason to hope, even in the worst of circumstances — even circumstances we bring upon ourselves. We have a God who loves us and redeems us. We have a God who desires our salvation and not our damnation. We place our hope in who He is and how He deals with His children. We, like the Israelites, might at times think our hope is gone. We might think that nothing good could come from our current situation. Read Ezekiel 37 and remind yourself that those conclusions are just not true. Jesus came into this hopeless world so that we (dry dead bones) might have life, peace, and hope.