up and our hope is gone; we are cut off" (Ezek 37:11). They felt like skeletons picked clean to the bone.

As Ezekiel surveys this gruesome scene, God asks him a surprising question: "Son of man, can these bones live?" (vs 3).

In the Hebrew the question is phrased in such a way that the only possible answer is "No." "No God. These bones cannot live." They are white and dry.

The heat of the sun and the wind has long since sucked out all the moisture.

The marrow is dried up and dead. The bones are old and chipped and cracked.

"No God. These bones cannot live."

Do you ever feel that way for somebody you are praying for, that they cannot possibly be revived to live with God?

They are too far gone, they’ll never come to church. They’ll never stop drinking, or getting angry, they’ll never stop living in the world.”

God says this morning to look upon the valley of those dry bones and have faith that He will restore by the breath of life.

Ezekiel says to God about the despondent bones of the Israelites, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know" (vs 3).

Ezekiel has seen so many strange and wonderful things that he cannot dismiss the possibility of those old, dried up bones coming to life again.

You too cannot dismiss the possibility of anything not coming to pass in the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel knows that the power of God transcends the power of the grave.

He knows how the Lord used Elijah to bring to life the widow of Zarephath's dead son.

He knows how Elisha was empowered by God to raise from the dead the Shunammite woman's son.

Ezekiel would agree with Hannah who said (1Sam 2:6) "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.

It is always hard to know if any humor surrounding the issue of death is appropriate but it does make the point.

I have read several times about three friends that were discussing death and one of them asked:

"What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?"

The first of the friends said: I would like them to say, he was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.

The second said that he hoped people would say that he was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow".

The third person said, I would like them to say, "Look, he’s moving!!"

Or there was the letter that was reportedly sent by the Indiana Department of Social Services to a person who had been receiving assistance through their organization.

The letter read as follows: "Your food stamps will be stopped in March because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."

Funny perhaps - and that is the point - we know that dry bones cannot live.

Dry bones do not come back to life.

And there are so many dry bones all around us.

Lives that have been parched by the heat and storms of life.

Individuals that