Dry Bones

Sometimes the scriptures are breathtakingly beautiful, like when you encounter a psalm that poetically describes the majesty of God’s creation. Sometimes they are incredibly uplifting, like when you read that God has a future with HOPE planned just for you. And then sometimes scripture can just be creepy.

Today is a creepy day. We join Ezekiel in a startling vision of a valley of dry bones. At God’s command, Ezekiel tells the bones to transform into sinewy, fleshy, skinned-covered beings. Ew.

I can’t imagine what that looked like to Ezekiel, but visions of The Walking Dead are dancing in my head this morning. How about you?

Ezekiel 37 (New Revised Standard Version)

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them.

There is much to be gained from this passage in regard to flesh vs. spirit. These bones could be reconstructed, but without the breath of God upon them they were nothing. We are the same. We are flesh, but without the spirit of God we are mere dust in the wind.

9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

We might say the same thing for our society today. Take a look around you. Are you living in a valley of dry bones that sit in front of a television all day? Are our sidewalks filled with zombies glued to their cell phones as they walk into things? Are people staring blankly into screens for hours on end rather than engage with live humans? Are your kids more alive on their PS5 player than they are at the dinner table?

11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

God intends us to be spirit-filled, living, breathing beings made in the image of our Creator. What is God calling you to do today to awaken your own dry bones?

Holy Spirit, come and breathe life into our faith once again so that we may be living water in this valley of dryness around us.

Dry Valley by Faye Gardner

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