Ezekiel 37.1-4 “The Valley of Dry Bones”
If you’re under 30 or a woman, you probably shouldn’t read Ezekiel…at least according to the ancient Rabbi’s you shouldn’t. The book of Ezekiel is full of STRANGE VISIONS and EXPLICIT SEXUAL LANGUAGE. Some ancient Rabbi’s figured since Ezekiel didn’t receive his visions until he was 30 and since he was a man, it was a good rule of thumb to apply to future readings of his prophecy. While I don’t think we need to take those rabbi’s literally, we need to take them seriously. Ezekiel wrote in the direst circumstances – the Babylonian captivity of Israel – and communicated with dramatic visions to break through their spiritual despair.
God whisks Ezekiel away to a Valley of Dry Bones and asks a powerful question: “Can these bones live?” To which Ezekiel wisely replies: “Only you know!” I don’t know about you, but in times past, I’ve l like my life is “dry bones” and the despair is real. What is DESPAIR? Its clinical definition is: profound and existential hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, and pessimism about life and the future. Deep discouragement and loss of faith in one’s ability to find meaning, fulfillment, and happiness, to create a satisfactory future for oneself.
Viktor Frankl, who was one of the few to survive a Nazi concentration camp and the holocaust knew despair. As a psychologist, he came up with a formula for it: D=S-M. Despair equals suffering minus meaning. How about you? Have you suffered? Have you lost meaning in your life? Chances are that you have or are experiencing despair.
Then God says “Prophesy (preach) to these bones.” The bones come together and flesh comes on them. But they aren’t yet fully alive. They’re sort of like Zombies, alive but dead (I can relate to feeling like this). LIFE must be about more than mere physical existence. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that, do I? The trouble is in figuring out in HOW to live life fully, as God intended.
So God says again: “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come fr. the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon this slain, that they may live.” The same Spirit that God breathed into humanity at creation is the same Spirit God breathes into us to give us the FULLNESS of life now. Life comes through the BREATH of God. What is impossible for us in our own strength, God makes possible by His Holy Spirit.
LISTEN to the FULL (29 minute) BREATH & BONES message HERE: