Summary: In looking at Ezekiel 37 we find four elements necessary for lifeless dry bones to live.
Can These Bones Live?
God spoke to the Prophet Ezekiel, whose name means "God strengthens me", through dreams and visions. In the record of his 22 year ministry, we find at least six separate visions that Ezekiel received from the Lord. Perhaps his most recognized vision, one that even many who have never read the Bible or have never been in a Bible preaching church are somewhat familiar with is concerning a valley filled with lifeless, dry, sun bleached bones. This vision revealed Israel's conquered crushed condition in captivity and its restoration. While this vision recorded in Ezekiel 37 was concerning and to Israel there are spiritual applications for us. Showing him the old dry bones God asked Ezekiel if these bones could live. As I study this passage I find four elements necessary for the bones to live. Let us examine the valley of dry bones.
I We must have a picture of the utter hopelessness of the situation.
A. Before the bones could live one must have the picture of man's condition.
B. Ezekiel 37:1-2 " The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry."
C. God had transported Ezekiel to a valley filled with the bones of dead Israelites. There are those that believe that it was the Chebar River valley, where Ezekiel had his first visions. Others believe that it was the valley of Dura, and the bones were the remains of those that were slain by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Still others say these were the children of Ephraim, who had been slain by the men of Gath in their plundering of Israel. Regardless of where the valley was the vision given to Ezekiel pictured the whole House of Israel that was then in captivity. Like unburied skeletons, the people were in a state of living death, pining away with no end to their judgment in sight. They thought there was hope for all hope had vanished and they were cut off forever. Those surviving Israelites who went through Babylon's devastating assault and conquest of the land felt their national hopes had been dashed to pieces and the nation had died in the flames of Babylon’s siege without the slightest glimmer of hope of resurrection.
D. Ezekiel went round and round several times the bones, that he might take exact notice of them, of their number, situation, and condition.
E. The scripture makes it clear from a human perspective there was absolutely no way that there would ever be life there again. Verse 2 - "They were dry" no life remained in them.
F. When it comes to man without Christ. We must see mankind as God sees them if we are to do God’s work among them. There are those who do not believe that the man is dead in sin, or who, while believing it, are unconcerned as to the tragedy of the fact that without Christ there is no life, no hope, no future.
G. Ephesians 2:12 tells us that the unsaved are "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world"
H. Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
I. Ephesians 2:1 says that man is "dead in trespasses and sins." John Piper says that the point of deadness is man is incapable of any life with God. Man's heart is like a stone toward God... Man's hearts is blind and incapable of seeing the glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6) and totally unable to reform ourselves... Ephesians 2:3 goes on to say that in our deadness we are "children of wrath."
J. No created power could restore human bones to life. God alone could cause them to live.
K. Someone has said, "The activities of godless lives mask the real spiritual death, which is the condition of every soul that is separate from God. Galvanized corpses may have muscular movements, but they are dead, notwithstanding their twitching. They that live without God are dead while they live." - copied
Transition: Having clearly in his mind the picture of a hopeless, helpless, people without life, Ezekiel is asked by the Lord in verse 3 “Son of man, can these bones live?” And while Ezekiel saw the powerlessness helpless estate of these sun bleached dry bones he didn't despair. The question which God posed had with it a glimmer of hope. Knowing the One in whom he trusted Ezekiel responded ‘O Lord God, You know.’ While the question is somewhat rhetorical Ezekiel's answer was not one of uncertainty but with the assurance that with God all things are possible and if God so desired life would be given. this should be the mindset of every believer-we worship a God Who knows all, the beginning from the end, the alpha and the omega and everything in between.