by Terry J. Hallock

Can These Bones Live?
Terry J. Hallock
Ezekiel 37:1-14

Four presences occupied the scene described in Ezekiel 37: the problem, the question, the prophet, and the power.

1. THE PROBLEM: Verse 11 tells that the dry bones Ezekiel encountered in that valley were symbols of a dead Israel. ''Son of man these bones are the whole house of Israel.'' The once mighty empire of David and Solomon now lived in captivity in the nation of Babylon. Assyria had taken the ten northern tribes of a once united nation and they would never be heard from again. In fact, to this day we refer to them as the ten lost tribes.

Now the remaining two tribes that occupied the south of the Promised Land lived as conquered servants in a strange and foreign land. They felt so hopeless that in the second half of verse 11 they are quoted as crying out, ''Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'' David and Solomon were dead and buried. The glory that was once Israel was now gone. Even the Temple itself had been ransacked and burned. Those of the house of Jacob born in captivity had no memory of the greatness that had been, only the captivity in which they lived. No possibility seemed to exist that they would ever be free.

Have there not been times when we have cried out ''Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off''? Have there not been moments - perhaps even now - when some of us feel so hopeless that we might as well be dead? It feels as if we are so dried up that we might as well be dry bones in a desolate valley where only the shadow of death resides.

We might have once possessed a dream for our life yet now that dream is only dry bones. We might have once shared a deep personal relationship with another who was the light of our life but now that relationship is only dry bones. Sickness, tragedy, injustice, or circumstances beyond our control may have slowly peeled all the flesh and muscle from our spirits and now all we seem capable of ...

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