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Summary: They were saying, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

“The Valley of Bones.” Pastor Allan Kircher SPBC

24 Jan 2010

Ezekiel 37:-1-14

The Books of I and II Kings were written about the period leading up to the Babylonian exile to show the people how their plight was the result of Israel’s sin

Ezekiel offers us a vivid reminder that God will not leave us forever lifeless and hopeless,

and further that God offers unity where there appears to be only brokenness and death.

Ezekiel was born just after the reforms of King Josiah. What a glorious time that was.

King Josiah repaired the Temple.

He rediscovered the Book of the Law, which Israel had forgotten and ignored for many years. After reading the Law Josiah cleansed Judah.

He removed from the Temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and the starry hosts and burned them outside Jerusalem.

He took the Asherah pole from the Temple and ground it into dust.

He tore down the living quarters of the male shrine prostitutes which were in the Temple.

He did away with the pagan priests and their altars on the high places. He led the people in a time of covenant renewal.

In his 31st year as king, Josiah was killed in a battle against Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt.

Neco imprisoned Josiah's oldest son before 3 months of his reign were over;

So a brother was made king in his place whose named Jehoiakim, He was an evil and ruthless king.

He imposed huge taxes on the people in order to pay tribute to Neco and to build palaces for himself.

He pursued other gods and put aside all the reforms established by his father, King Josiah.

He tolerated no criticism and to enforce silence he killed the prophet Uriah and imprisoned the prophet Jeremiah.

When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, Jehoiakim put himself under Babylonian rule as a vassal.

After 3 years he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Within 4 years Jerusalem was encircled and besieged.

At the critical moment Jehoiakim died – whether from assassination or sickness we do not know.

His 18 year old son, Jehoiachin, surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar. Plunder was taken but the city itself and its Temple were not harmed.

In this first deportation was Daniel.

Though it was now under Babylonian domination, Judah remained an independent nation with her own king.

In 598 BC. Again Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem.

However, Jehoiachin, the officers, the fighting men, the craftsmen and artisans, and all the leading men of the land were deported to Babylon, along with the prophet Ezekiel

While in captivity Ezekiel heard of what happened next.

In 586 BC Jerusalem was totally ruined by Nebuchadnezzer and his great Babylonian army.

Solomon’s Temple, which had been the pride and glory of Israel for almost 400 years was reduced to ashes;

all the inhabitants of Jerusalem had been taken either to Chaldea or to Babylon in captivity, including Zedekiah

the last king of Judah who had been blinded taken in chains to Babylon.

Although they had been warned repeatedly by God through His prophets, including Ezekiel, they had turned a deaf ear!

Now they were spiritually dead.

They were saying, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

They had come to complete despair in their Babylonian Captivity.

They thought that God would never take them back. Since they had no hope, they also had completely lost their faith in God.

Jerusalem and Judah were no more.

What a discouraging and disappointing time for the people of God.

The exiles in Babylon now encounter very real depression,

Perhaps because they were aware of how much their own actions had led to their current situation,

Perhaps they sensed the absence of God in this foreign land they now live.

How so can we relate today in our own lives……

Nonetheless, the prophet Ezekiel describes an experience he had at a low point in his life. Hope had evaporated.

There was no reason to believe his situation would improve.

I think this story gets to us because life has set us down in a valley of dry bones more often than we would like.

Feeling sometimes in our lives that we are lifeless as bleached bones on a desert floor.

Feeling as though God has abandoned us in our time of need.

We sometimes feel we have been broken down by self-satisfaction and by cultural changes for which we weren’t prepared.

Life sometimes sets us down in a place so barren and so difficult that we're not sure if we will ever make our way out of it.

In the vision Ezekiel is put in the middle of a valley. What a dismal place.

The valley is full of human bones baked white and dry on the desert floor. Apparently a large army had been defeated here.

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