Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones…. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD…I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live… 11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’… Thus says the Lord GOD… 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil…
After the defeat of Jerusalem by the Babylonians many of God’s people were either dead or scattered to surrounding nations. So when Ezekiel describes “dry bones” one might think he’s referring to those who were killed in battle. But verse 11 clarifies this for us:
“Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely…”
The dry bones refer to the Israelites who are alive but without hope of restoration. They are alive, but dead on the inside. Ever felt dead on the inside? We just crossed into the month of November – and entered the holiday season. Halloween is behind us with Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead of us. Good news, right? Well, maybe. Truth is, for some people November and December are two of the most difficult months of the year.
The holidays have a way of bringing into sharp relief things that aren’t right in life: broken relationships, health problems, financial stress, grief for those who’ve died, and so on.
I was talking with someone very close to me yesterday who is not enthused at all about the upcoming holidays. Her spouse is in poor health and she’s caring for him at home. In years past she’s hosted family gatherings for her children and grandchildren. She used to look forward to it for months; decorating the house, cooking elaborate meals, buying gifts for the grandchildren, and so on. Not this year. These days, just getting through the week is a major achievement for her. The thought of having the family over as in years past is overwhelming. We talked about it and prayed about it.
It’s okay to admit that life is not okay.
So this morning I’m being honest with the Lord about the places where my life is not okay, where hope is waning, where pain is raw and real. Can these dry bones live? Only you know Lord. Put the breathe of life back into us, dear God. Amen.