I’ve always felt a little sorry for some of those Old Testament prophets. Not just because their teachers no doubt mispronounced their funky-sounding names in class, but because their lives were often used as rather startling object lessons. A few cases in point: Hosea was told to marry a prostitute; Isaiah had to walk around naked and barefoot for three years; and Jeremiah was given orders to bury his underwear in a hole by the river until it rotted.
The prophet Ezekiel was no exception. For him, the object lesson was about a heap of bones:
[The Lord] led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
His response is precisely why I’m no prophet (aside from my pronounceable name). I would have said something like, “Um, God, no offense, but those bones look really, officially, 100% dead.” But Ezekiel said, in essence, “I don’t know if you will bring those bones to life. But I know you can.”
Maybe right now you feel like nothing more than a heap of dried-out bones. You feel certain that it’s game over, that all hope is gone.
But here’s what God says:
Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
We serve a God who is stronger than anything. Even death. And if he can bring a pile of dry bones to life, I’m pretty sure he can do anything.
He can bring your lost child home.
He can heal that relationship that seems broken beyond repair.
He can dig out the splinter that is lodged deep in your heart.
He can raise up your buried dreams.
He can bring dead things back to life.
Oh God, put your breath into us. Bring us back to life. And we will know that you are the Lord.
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.