Dry Bones

I’ve been gutting my way through the book of Ezekiel. It’s not an easy read, but then it wasn’t easy being a prophet, either. Ezekiel, the poor guy, had to pronounce judgement on place after place: Egypt, Sidon, Moab, Tyre, Edom, Babylon, Jerusalem, Ammon, Philistia, Gog. He had to relay searing messages from God to Israel’s leaders and priests, to false prophets and idolaters, to those in his own hometown. Whew! That’s a lot of bad news.

Finally, this morning, the words flew off the page right to my heart. As I read in chapter 37, God gave Ezekiel a break from broadcasting words of woe and took him on a field trip to the bottom of a valley filled with very dry bones. God asked the prophet, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no, either. He gave the best answer possible, “Lord, only You can answer that.”

I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I’ve felt like a pile of dried up old bones laying on a valley floor. My prayers are dry, my devotions are dry — it’s that sense of being shriveled and empty and lifeless. Usually, something eventually breaks through and brings me back to life, although I once spent a two year stint in the desert of dryness. No fun.

God told Ezekiel what to say to that ditch full of skeletons and before the prophet got all the words out of his mouth, a rattling sound echoed from one end of the valley to the other. The bones came together (the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone connected to the shin bone…) and then tendons and flesh appeared (can you imagine seeing that?) and then God breathed His breath into the bodies and they all stood up (what a riveting picture!). “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.” Ezekiel 37:6

During that long dry season I experienced, the words to a song by Michael W. Smith became my anthem:

“So breath in me, I need You now; I’ve never felt so dead within.

So breath in me, maybe somehow, You can breath new life in me again.”

So Ezekiel, can these dry bones live? Yes, indeed, they can.

4 thoughts on “Dry Bones

  1. God is always telling Ezekiel to do really bizarre things, don’t you think? Like building a little Lego land of Jerusalem in the middle of town – and laying in front of it for a year. I held kinder thoughts of the homeless downtown after reading Ezekiel…”oh, hey – he may look like a delusional psychotic, but on the other hand that could be an Ezekiel – what do I know?”

    I digress… soooo, as one of your 7 loyal readers….I’m awaiting a Part Deux to hear your thoughts about “breath.”

    • Ha! When things get stressful in the ministry, I remind Blake that at least God hasn’t asked him to do Isaiah 20:3 yet. (“Just as my servant Isaiah has walked around town naked and barefooted for three years as a warning sign….”)

      I’m thinking about breathing – I think I’ll keep doing it…thinking and breathing, that is. Part Deux will be forthcoming!

  2. I’m intrigued! The last time I read Ezekiel was almost 30 years ago when I was so hungry for the word that I read from Genesis to Revelation like Pac Man gone wild! All I remember about that book is thinking, “Please don’t ask me to do that, Lord.” Now I have slowed down in my reading, asking questions, putting myself in the settings I’m studying (thanks to you, Dinah!), but I have to say that after looking at Ezekiel again I am still saying, “Please don’t ask me to do that, Lord!”
    I do like your comment, Janet,about looking differently at the homeless. I’ve seen a few “Ezekiels”, and walked on by. Maybe I missed something:)
    I’m waiting too, Dinah, for more on “breath”.

  3. Resurrecting your devo here 🙂
    Do you watch the TV show Smash? I downloaded a song last night and was listening to it off and on today and teared up every time. When I was listening to it tonight, your reflection on Ezekiel and the dry bones came to mind. I read the passage again and thought of the noise and the breath as a song something like “Second Hand White Baby Grand”

    Jesus had a beautiful way of reminding people who felt “second-hand and broken” that they still had something beautiful to give.

    Miss hearing you and Blake sing!

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