It’s always good to provide a little perspective when reading Ezekiel, so…Chapter 37 shows the promise of chapter 36. God had just announced that Israel will be restored to her land in blessing under the leadership of David her king. This seems hard to believe in light of Israel’s present condition – Israel was “dead” as a nation—deprived of her land, her king, and her temple. She had been divided and isolated for so long that restoration seemed impossible. So God gave two signs (37:1-14 and vv. 15-28) to Ezekiel to illustrate the reality of restoration and confirm the promises just made.
Dry bones…scattered across the plain…a desert-like scene…arid…Ezekiel is afforded this vision. Ezekiel’s third vision of 4 – this vision tells the story about God recreating the people of Israel (37:10). Because burial and possession of the land were related in the ancient world, the vision includes the replanting of the people in their land. The resussitated bones symbolize the new nation.
‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely finished.’ God is providing Ezekiel with the people’s perspective. The exiles are lamenting that they are as good as dead…hope is gone and without hope they may as well be dead. The people see no future and if they do, it is as barren as the vision of this passage. And God asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel knew that humanly speaking it was impossible.
We experience dry bones often in our lives. Would we respond as Ezekiel did? When the many “dark nights of our soul” seem to be pressing in, what do we hear and/or see? Or, maybe the question to each of us is, “What can our spiritual dry bones teach us?” Do we hear a promise only God can give? Can we hear God ask us, “Human One, can these bones live?” And…can we, with absolute faith answer, “Lord God, only you know!”