Then [the LORD] said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. … I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
These Bones Live!
How strange the landscape was as Ezekiel looked around! He was standing in the middle of a valley, and everywhere he looked he saw nothing but scattered human bones. There were skulls, femurs, vertebrae, and every other bone that makes up the human skeleton. It was obvious from how dry these bones were that the people they once belonged to had died a long time ago. There was no way that these bones could ever come to life on their own. Yet, the Lord asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel, knowing the power of the Lord, answered, “Only you know.”
So, the Lord told Ezekiel to preach to the bones. “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord,” Ezekiel was to say. Ezekiel preached to the bones, as the Lord had commanded. Suddenly he began to hear a strange rattling sound. He looked around and saw all those dead, dry bones starting to come together into intact skeletons. Tendons and sinews appeared on the bones and joined them together. Skin covered them so that they looked like people again.
Then the Lord told Ezekiel to call to the breath and command it to come into the bodies of the people, who now were lying on the valley floor. The breath came and those people, who just a few minutes ago had been nothing but scattered dry bones, came alive and stood up. This was the Lord’s answer to his initial question to Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Yes, they could live—but not on their own. They could live only because the Lord, by the power of his Spirit, gave them life.
This may seem like a scene out of a modern horror movie, but it’s not. It is a beautiful picture of what God has done, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for each of us who believe in him.
All of us, when we were born, were spiritually dead just like those bones Ezekiel saw on the valley floor. Those dead, dry bones never could have assembled themselves and come to life on their own. In the same way, our spiritually dead souls never could have come to believe in Jesus on their own. Spiritually, we were dead. And dead things do not come to life all by themselves.
But then the Holy Spirit performed a miracle just as amazing as what Ezekiel witnessed in the valley of dry bones. He entered our spiritually dead souls, just as the breath entered the bodies that Ezekiel saw, and the Spirit gave us spiritual life. Through the power of the good news of Jesus, the Holy Spirit enabled us to believe in Jesus as our Savior, and receive from him the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that he won for us on the cross. And the Holy Spirit continues to give us spiritual life as he continues to sustain our faith in Jesus.
Can these bones live? Can our souls live? Yes, they can—but not on their own. We live spiritually, now and forever, because the Holy Spirit has given us life.
O Holy Spirit, all praise to you for bringing life to my spiritually dead soul and leading me to believe in Jesus as my Savior. Amen.
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