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Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:5 (ESV) … “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.”

SUPPORTING IDEA: Although the nation of Israel is in despair with no hope, God will revive the nation and bring her back to her homeland.

Why did God design the human body the way he did? A young school boy was asked this question by his teacher, and this is what he wrote:

A man has one mouth, one nose, two ears, and two eyes. His mouth is to hatch teeth in, his nose to sniffle air with, his eyes are to catch dust in, and his ears are for keeping his hat from falling down over his face.

Man has one skeleton. A skeleton is what’s left when the insides are taken out, and the outsides are taken off. Man has one spinal column, his head sits on one end and he sits on the other. Man has one skull. His brains are on the inside, if he’s got any; his hair is on the outside, if he’s got any.

Women have ankles. Ankles are to keep the calves from coming down and eating up the corns.

And that’s all I know.

Our passage begins with perhaps the most famous account in the entire Bible about the human anatomy. The nation of Israel had been decimated, and the prophet Ezekiel in a vision saw the bones of the people of God scattered all over the valley. But God would revive the nation as he put the parts of the human anatomy back together piece by piece.

In this vision God led the prophet back and forth among scattered bones, enabling him to observe a great many bones on the floor of the valley. We may not fully appreciate what Ezekiel must have felt when he observed this scene. The prophet knew that contact with a corpse rendered a person unclean, so he must have felt some tension in following God’s instructions. The situation was perhaps similar to Peter’s visionary experience with regard to unclean food in Acts 10:9–16. Moreover, this vast array of people left unburied reminded Ezekiel of the execution of the judgment curses for disobedience (Deut. 28:26).

These bones that Ezekiel saw in his vision were very dry. A lot of time had elapsed since these people had died, and they were beyond resuscitation. The implication of the scene was that there was no hope of the nation’s people returning to life and living again in her homeland.

After Ezekiel observed this abundance of bones in the valley, God presented a question to the prophet: Son of man, can these bones live? Ezekiel was aware that God had the power to raise people from the dead (2 Kgs. 4:18–37; Dan. 12:1–2). And yet these bones were dry, meaning that the flesh had decayed. This would seem to make resuscitation of these bones impossible. So Ezekiel cautiously responded, O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.[1]

[1] Rooker, M. (2005). Ezekiel (M. Anders, Ed.; Vol. 17, pp. 262–263). Holman Reference.

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