Dem Bones

Today’s reading is on Ezekiel 37.

A small example model skeleton

You know those model skeletons you see in science classes? Imagine going up to one of those, starting a casual conversation with it, and asking it to get up and start dancing with you. Do you think it’d listen to you? As you expectantly cha-cha around the room waiting for your boney friend to join you, do you think any onlookers would be questioning your emotional state?

The idea of one of us successfully speaking life into a mere set of bones sounds awfully silly. But when God shows the power of His word & His spirit in Ezekiel 37, raising a vast army of flesh & blood in front of Ezekiel’s eyes from naught but long-dead bones, the power of the word of God over death becomes clear as day to the prophet – and us. God tells Ezekiel the meaning behind what He is showing the prophet in verse 11-14:

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

Unlike Ezekiel in the midst of this vision, our usual audiences of conversation aren’t piles of bones, but other normal people. We never know what exactly is going on inside of others, if they are feeling hopeless and cut off from God’s presence. But we do know where our hope, life, and spirit come from. The “one king” God tells Ezekiel about in this passage is our hope of eternal life; in John 11:25-26, Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” And in John 20:22, “he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”” The word of God through Jesus Christ has become our promise of victory over death, and in His word we receive the Holy Spirit. When we share this with the metaphorical living “dry bones” around us – people struggling for years with hopelessness and despair – and they accept Christ, they have the opportunity to find life and hope in a future at God’s side again. This same strength and hope that remains in His faithful can bring life to the neediest; so how are you using and taking advantage of that opportunity?

Lord, we know the life in us is more than the bones we leave behind and the breath that will one day leave our lungs for good; but your Word that move us and your spirit that fills us is what gives us eternal life. Lord, as you fulfilled your promise to bring your people out of exile back into the land of Israel, we know you will open our graves and lead us to our rightful home; let us never in all our days forget your promises to us. If we feel our hope is lost and we are empty, let us look to you for life, hope, and joy all of our days, that we may repay your promises and use the life you’ve blessed us with to glorify & praise you always.