Happy New Year!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then he said to me, “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)
After a long period of disobedience to God, Israel people was taken to Babylon as captive. Their lives were not used to be as in Israel, their own country. People suffered during the exile in Babylon. They felt them in the exile as if they were dead and dry bones. No hope and no joy in their hearts because of their daily experience in Babylon. There was no sign of ending their exile either. They knew they were simply stuck with the harsh reality. On the other hand, God, who dearly loved the Israelites, did not forget them. Our God, who was full of mercy, grace and love, could not bear with their hardship. God appeared to Prophet Ezekiel in his vision.
God took hold of Ezekiel, and he was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones. God led Ezekiel all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then God asked him, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign LORD,” Ezekiel replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Ezekiel was in astonishment, and he could not respond except this simple answer.
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD 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.’”
So Ezekiel spoke this message, just as God told him. Suddenly as Ezekiel spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as Ezekiel watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
Then God said to Ezekiel, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
So Ezekiel spoke the message as God commanded him, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
Then God said to Ezekiel,“Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:11-12) I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken!’”
God loved the Israelites. When they lost their hope, God was there with them. When they thought that they were finished, again God was there. When they were completely at the bottom of the graves of exile, God could not stand still. God reached out the Israelites, He gave a vision of hope through Ezekiel.
The valley was full of completely dry bones. Nothing was alive in the entire valley. Only is the death prevailing in the entire valley. Of course, the old and completely dry bones did not have any hope at all because they had been dead long time. Their skins had been already decomposed, and swept away by blowing winds in the valley. And under the harsh sun, all the bones were completely dried up. Then was there a dead silence except wind noise blowing through the dry bones. Only the death prevails in the valley. No hope and no future.
However, God directed Ezekiel to speak, “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.”
As directed, Ezekiel spoke to the bones. Then the bones made a loud noise that filled the entire valley. The bones were moving together and being attached themselves as complete skeletons! Then the skeletons were covered with skins. Again there was a dead silence. Nothing was moving. God again directed Ezekiel to speak, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.” (Ezekiel 37:9) As Ezekiel spoke the very message of God, breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet forming a great army!!!
Yes, before God, nothing is impossible. In Ezekiel’s vision, God turned the great pile of the old dry bones in the valley to a great living army ready to march. What a comforting message to the Israelites in the exile. To some of us, the last year 2016 was not an easy year while feeling themselves as if they were the dry bones in the valley of the Ezekiel’s vision. However, in the Ezekiel’s vision, God did not the dry bones alone. God put together the dry bones, put skins on them, and made them a great living army. God loves all of us, and He never forgets His people. He is always with His people every moment by moment, and He is carefully watching His people like a mother who gives utmost care and love to a new-born baby after its birth. God is our True and Ever-Loving Father He is also almighty God, who prepared everything for us even before laying the foundation of the whole universe. For Him, 2017 is not an exception. This year is also a part of Our Father’s infinitely good plan for each of us. Yes, just lift up eyes to face Him, and sing, praise His Name. His mercy, love and grace endures forever! Praise God, Our True and Only One Father. Amen.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16)