Summary: how our journey to the graveyard with Ezekiel shows us where the power really is - in the Word!
March 17, 2002 Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 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.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin 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 it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
Some of you might be familiar with the game called “Ghost in the Graveyard.” If I remember it correctly, one person played the ghost, and then the other kids would go out and try not to be caught by the ghost. When I was in grade school, we used to love playing this game. What even made it more exciting, was that I had a friend who used to live right next to an old graveyard out in the country. When it would get dark out, sometimes late at night, we would run down the hill, run across highway 26, and find ourselves seeking refuge behind tombstones that were centuries old in the dark of night.
It was scary for me as a child to go running around in a graveyard after dark. Imagine, then, what a scary sight it would have been for Ezekiel in today’s text. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. God picked Ezekiel up and teleported him to the MIDDLE of a valley - not just full of gravestones, but full of exposed and dry bones. What an eerie feeling this must have been! He recalls his vision with us this morning, and urges us to -
Go to the Graveyard!
I. When things seem impossible!
Graveyards are sometimes sad places to visit. When I walk through them today, my imagination races as I try to envision what these people were once like. The especially sad ones are the gravestones of young children. Sometimes doing funerals can also be very sad and depressing. Nowhere is the message of God’s condemnation of sin declared more clearly, “the wages of sin is death.” The graveyard is full of people who were designed to live forever, but whose lives were cut short - separated from their souls all due to the fall of mankind after creation. When you look at a gravestone, you realize that you will never see your loved one again on this side of heaven.