Scripture: Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.” Ezekiel 37:4-5 ESV
Observation: Angered that Israel had repeatedly profaned his holy name to the surrounding nations by their display of reckless, immoral behavior (36:16-21), the Lord mercifully decided to rescue Israel from self-destruction by placing his Spirit within them. Generation after generation, the nation would turn away from God and follow the sinful ways of neighboring cultures. The law in itself could not effectuate change. God’s people needed an overhaul from the inside out. They needed the Spirit of God to radically transform their hearts of stone into that of flesh if they were to obey the Lord consistently (36:26-27). Thus the Yahweh commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to a heap of dry skeletons lying in a desolate valley to resume their former human bodies and once again live and breathe (above verse). And so he did, and so they did!
Takeaway: The imagery points us to Calvery, to Christ, who dehydrated and thirsty, breathed his last breath—giving up his Spirit to absorb our sins in his body. Indeed, the Son of Man spoke words that breathed life into our dry bones: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And he sent his Holy Spirit to dwell in us to bring about obedience to his commands.
Our part? Remember. Remember how our God restored us to new life, retrieving us from enemy territory and restoring us to our eternal Promise Land as his united people (37:19-22). Remember that Jesus is our King in the line of David and that we thrive under his everlasting Covenant of Grace (37:24-26). And remember that he dwells with and in us (37:27). Then our neighbors, who see his godly love emanate from within us, will know he is Lord (37:28).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who has breathed eternal life in us through his Spirit who is in us. Would you please help us to remember all the ways you have reached out to us to rescue us from enemy territory and restore us to your eternal kingdom, that with gratitude we might obey your Son’s commands and witness that he is Lord to those around us? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling