Summary: God was and is still in control. He can and will give life to that which appears to have shriveled up and died. Ezekiel’s vision has applications for our lives today. As in Ezekiel’s day, God is still in the business of giving hope to the dried up.
There’s Hope for the Dried Up
The children of Israel had begun to lose their hope. The nation had dried up politically, spiritually, and morally. Many had gone into captivity. Despair and pessimism were rampant. Gloom and doom filled the air. They had become a dried up exiled people. The glory they had once enjoyed was gone. They felt as though all hope had abandoned them. God gave Ezekiel a message to the deliver to the despairing exiles of Israel that there was hope for the dried hope. God was and is still in control. He can and will give life to that which appears to have shriveled up and died. This vision of Ezekiel has applications which we can make to our lives today. As in Ezekiel’s day, God is still in the business of giving hope to the dried up.
I. The picture of death – a valley of bones
A. They were dead, dried, and divided
B. No sign of life - they were very dry; through length of time they had lain there, exposed to wind and weather; the flesh being wholly consumed from off of them, and the marrow within quite dried up
C. Jameson Faucet Brown says that the bones were “dry-bleached by long exposure to the atmosphere.”
D. If one looked at these bones they would say that there was no hope of life ever being put back into them.
E. Ezekiel 37:11 “Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
F. Webster’s defines DESPAIR as the loss of HOPE and a feeling of hopelessness. It’s the idea of giving up hope, feeling discouraged & defeated.
G. Death in God’s Word symbolizes separation as well as the absence of life.
1. For the unbeliever, death means without spiritual life, unregenerate, and without God—separated from relationship with God.
2. For the believer, death is used as a representation or picture of carnality or worldliness, for being out of fellowship with God and therefore separated from Christ as the source of the abundant life.
H. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I. Revelation 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.’’”
J. This was written to true believers who were spiritually carnal and working from the energy of their own resources rather than from His (the Word and the Holy Spirit).
K. Many had soiled their garments (Revelation 3:4) – that is to say they contaminated both their life and witness by either living unseparated lives or going about their worship and service in their own way relying on their own works and feelings.
L. This is a warning. A church is in danger of death when its members fail to live according to the precepts of God’s Word or when it seeks to carry out its ministries without direction from and reliance on the Lord.
M. Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
N. When a believer fails to continue to drink at the Springs of Living Water and to feast on the Manna of God’s Word they become famished and their soul becomes parched as they become spiritually dried up.
O. Perhaps the best picture of this is seen in the story of the prodigal son.
P. Luke 15:16-18 “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee”
II. The question posed – Can these bones live?
A. There was no probability or hope, humanly speaking, of their being quickened.
B. No created power could restore human bones to life. – Gill
C. Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.”
D. No matter how dead, how dry, how lifeless these bones may look! Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, "...‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’"