Reading through the Bible together
Since Israel is still captive when Ezekiel gives his restoration message, a natural question arises. Can God really do this? Is this renewal of Israel really going to happen? God responds and answers this question with a divine message complete with sound effects.
The opening scene is a valley of very dry bones. God tests the prophet’s faith by asking if these dry bones can live. Ezekiel gives an unclear answer. God responds by commanding Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones, doing what God tells him. God says he will put flesh on the bones and breath into the resulting body and the bones will live. Ezekiel will know then that Yahweh is God.
Ezekiel obeys and with a great rattling sound the bones become a living army (verse 10). The meaning is clear. A dead Israel will be brought back to life from the grave by God’s actions and will be placed in their own land. By the dry bones message all will know and recognize again that Yahweh is God.
More than that, in the second scene, two sticks that are separate from each other will be brought back together. This represents the kingdom of the South (Judah) and the kingdom of the North (Israel) who will be reunited under the kingship of David. What was once two separate nations will be brought back together again.
In our broken world it is easy to see the sin around us and perhaps even the spiritual dryness among God’s people. We wonder if these dry spiritual bones can be revived. God says to us, “do you believe these bones can live?” I think God is waiting for us to believe that He can cause these 21st century dry spiritual bones to live again.
Walla Walla University