Can These Bones Live?
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27
God brought the prophet Ezekiel by the Spirit to a valley full of dry bones and asked, “Can these bones live?” When God asks a question like that, you know you’re supposed to say, “Sure,” even when you have no idea how it could happen. So Ezekiel said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:1-3).
God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones (Ezekiel 37:4-6). After prophesying to the deaf ears of his fellow exiles in Babylon, Ezekiel didn’t hesitate to speak to the lifeless bones. With a rattling sound the bones came together; then, sinew, flesh, and skin were added. When breath came into them from the four winds, they stood to their feet—a vast army (vv. 7-10).
God explained to Ezekiel, “These bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off’” (37:11b).
God told Ezekiel to go back and prophesy to the Israelites. He wanted to give them the encouragement they needed: God had not forgotten them. Someday He would raise up their dry bones and return them to their own land.
Have you ever felt dead, like a pile of bones walking around, your heart turned to stone, feeling hopeless and cut off from God? Imagine Ezekiel’s amazement when the valley full of dry bones became a vast army of living people. Let God’s words encourage you. He can bring life to your dry bones and change your heart of stone to a heart of flesh through the Holy Spirit within you. God can raise you up and use you in His vast spiritual army. Yes, you.
Read Jeremiah 29:10-14. What specific message did God give to the exiles in Babylon and to all the people who were later scattered among the nations? In what way does that promise apply to us as New Testament Christians?
Psalm 31:21-24 and Isaiah 40:27-31 give images of disheartened, weary people. How can you find encouragement in the words of hope they received?
Read John 4:1-42. How did Jesus give new life to the weary Samaritan woman at the well? How can we drink “living water” each day?
Take the challenge of our quiz on prophets. You’ll know the answer to the last one which comes from today’s devotion: Prophets Quiz
You might also want to read Ezekiel: Part One.
Nancy J. Baker