One of the most stunning and powerful moments in the Bible involves the prophet Ezekiel. In the book of Ezekiel, the readers encounter the powerful visions of the prophet as the people of Judah experience deportation after Jerusalem falls to the powerful Babylonians. It was a time when hope was lost, and no one knew what the future would hold for God’s people, their families, or even their own lives.
In the midst of losing everything, Ezekiel experiences a moment where he is seemingly transported by God to a valley filled with bones. It is a sad picture, filled with death. Ezekiel walks all around and all he finds is dry bones, everywhere. As he surveys the valley, God questions Ezekiel, “Mortal, can these bones live?” Ezekiel replies, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” It was an acknowledgement that in the midst of hopelessness and destruction, our ability to see a positive future is almost impossible. The vision of death, the absence of life, was overwhelming to Ezekiel and even though he stood in the presence of God, the giver of life, he could not see the possibility that the dry bones could come to life.
God spoke clearly to Ezekiel:
Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37: 4-6)
It was a proclamation of hope. It was an acknowledgement of God’s presence with His beloved people. God had not abandoned Judah. God would once again breathe life into to the nation. These are the closing words of this powerful scene, “O my people, I will put my spirit with 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.” (Ezekiel 37:14)
As we read the powerful words found in book of Ezekiel, we are reminded of the character of God. God does not leave us. God does not forget us. God is faithful. God is the creator. God sustains. When hopelessness, destruction and death are all around us, God is the source of hope, resurrection and a future filled with abundant life. The powerful story found in Ezekiel is a reminder to us today that, even in the midst of the new normal that we face, we face this life with a powerful hope.
– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship