Text- 1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me round among them; and behold, there were very many upon the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” 4 Again he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon 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.” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And as I looked, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, 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.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great host. 11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, says the LORD.
Summary – This chapter is a famous telling of Ezekiel’s vision of “the valley of dry bones.” IT takes place after Babylon captured the land, and destroyed Jerusalem. The Lord takes Ezekiel into a valley that contained the bones of many decides person. The Lord commands him to prophesy, or preach, to the bones, telling them that God would give them muscles and skin and breath. The long dead bones would become alive again. This vision was God’s promise that he would restore Israel, he would bring them up from the grave, back from captivity, and they would live as God’s people in his promised land once again.
Insight – This passage gives us insight into the power of God, to make the dead become alive again. An important element in this passage is the breath of God. The dry bones were put back together and covered in flesh, but it was not until the breath of God entered them that they became alive again. This points back to Genesis 2, where God took dust and turned it into a living man with his breath. It also points forward to John 20, where the resurrected Christ breathes on his disciples, and they receive the Holy Spirit. God’s breath gives us life and sustains us from moment to moment physically. But his breath also gives us spiritual life, without which, we would be little more than dead, dried bones.
Discussion – How do you think this passage connects with the day of Pentecost, which we are celebrating on Sunday?
Catechism – Q. What gave life to the dry bones?
A. The Breath of God
Prayer – Our God and Father, You are mighty to give life to even dead bones. We know you are working in us, to give us your life. We ask that you would give us eyes of faith that we would know that you are the I AM, whose breath gives life to every creature. We do not ask this on our own merit, but on the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit are one God. Amen.
Contributed by Jared McNabb