The Expository Files

The Valley Of Dry Bones

(Ezekiel 37:1-3)

The prophet Ezekiel was a captive along with the rest of the nation of Israel. The nation had fallen away from God in sin and rebellion. God had withdrawn His protection and blessings. This resulted in Israel being conquered by their enemies. They were captives, and their cities lay in rubble. It seemed as if there would never again be a nation of Israel. The nation had died spiritually when they had forsaken God, and they had died physically when they were taken to serve in foreign lands. In one such land, Ezekiel was given a vision from the Lord.

Ezekiel wrote: "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered, 'O Lord God, Thou knowest.'" (Ezek. 37:1-3).

Then, Ezekiel gazed in amazement as flesh and muscle formed on the bones and finally life was breathed into them. God was picturing for the prophet in a very graphic was that He can also do the same thing for a dead nation. There would be a resurrection of a dead nation, and there was.

God was not through with Israel yet because the Messiah was yet to be born. The prophets had said He would come through the descendants of Jacob, or Israel. That is one reason why God restored the nation under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Redeemer was coming.

But not only that, the Lord can do the same thing for a spiritually dead individual. He can give purpose and meaning to a wasted life. Jesus said, "I came that they might have life, and more abundantly." (John 10:10). He is the resurrection and the life.

By Jon W. Quinn
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From Expository Files 11.2; February, 2004