Ezekiel 37:5 (ESV) … “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.”
Ezekiel, as the result of the activity of the Holy Spirit (v. 1), found himself in the middle of a valley filled with dead men’s bones. They were very dry (v. 2), that is, they had been dead a long time. This was no recent disaster but the product of a long process of decay and death. And the valley was full of these bones—there were very many. It was a total disaster not merely touching one or two people, but the whole nation.
The prophet must have been shocked at what he saw. He had seen nothing like this before, and revulsion must have filled his heart. But the vision was meant by God to do just this; it was meant to hit him hard. God let him take it all in as he led Ezekiel ‘to and fro among them’ (v. 2). Then God asked his servant a crucial question: ‘Can these bones live?’ (v. 3). Following the question came the command, ‘Prophesy to these bones’ (v. 4). Does history, sacred or secular, offer a more ridiculous picture than this? Here is the height of hopelessness! Did any preacher have such a dumb congregation as Ezekiel? Written over the scene in large letters is the word—‘IMPOSSIBILITY’.
The valley of dry bones speaks of the spiritual condition of the nation. And if we are to learn anything from this, we have to see that it also speaks of our nation. Do we see our people as God does? Can we see the true spiritual condition of Britain or America, or whatever our nation is, as spiritually dead? God caused the prophet to pass back and forth among bones—and we do this every day in the shops and on the streets of our towns and cities. Do we see? Do we feel the situation? Jesus did, and he wept over Jerusalem. Paul did, and his heart’s desire and prayer for his nation was that they should be saved.