The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. … I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.Ezekiel 37:1-5; 14
Things weren’t good in the land of Judah around 650 BCE. Invaded by the well-equipped Babylonian armies, many citizens were carried off to Babylon while those remaining were left impoverished and devastated. In the midst of this calamity, the seeming end of anything good, God raised up the prophet Ezekiel. Prophets are not fortune tellers, rather they are God’s messengers summoned to bring the truth to the people. Prophets call things out. They say how it is—what’s going on. Then they point out the options. One of the options—and this is the one the true prophet always advocates—is to trust the life-giving guidance of God.
This is what was happening when God gave the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel a strange vision. God took him out to a valley filled with dry bones—very dry bones as the scripture points out. The bones were so dry in fact that Ezekiel had to have concluded that it had been an extremely long time since they had supported any living thing. Can’t you just hear him crunching around in that valley of the very dry bones wondering what in the world God was up to bringing him here? Then God asked him a peculiar question—making it plain that Ezekiel was a mere mortal and probably didn’t know the answer. God asked Ezekiel if those bones could live. Ezekiel wisely answered that he really didn’t know, but he was confident that God did.
Have you been to the valley of the very dry bones? That place where you have given up the hope of ever finding a healing, a solution, a forward moving expansive fulfillment? That place where, like Ezekiel mourning his ravaged country, you really don’t know if there can be any life to be found, if there can be anything good again? We’ve all been there—most of us more than once. And so we know there is a solution. When Ezekiel admitted he couldn’t do anything about those very dry bones, but that God could, things happened. God told him to tell the truth to those bones—the Truth that God had the power and the will to breathe life into them, to cover them with flesh and raise them up. With that encouragement the bones sprang to life.
God will bring to life all the very dry bones still in your world. Your job is to prophesy to those bones. Be like Ezekiel. Tell them the Truth that God’s Spirit is within them, that God can be trusted. Then God will act and breathe them—and you—into the fullness of life.
In the Love and Light of the Risen Christ,