KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY

The Valley Of Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37

Jerry A Collins

SCC

10/7/01

 

ō   What is the identity of the dry bones?

ō   Why is Israel illustrated as dry bones?

ō   What does God promise to do for the nation of Israel?

 

Every cemetery has a testimony. Reviewing the grave markers there is a name, date and sometimes a verse or saying that identifies the person and gives some idea of who they were or what they believed. I have often walked through cemeteries and the one thot that strikes me is that it is so final. These people once lived real lives, but now it is over. For Israel, they too lived as a nation of people real lives. But the land that once held a thriving nation of people has become a cemetery. A testimony to what once was. When the curtain drops on the Old Testament, there is no longer a nation. The promises given to this people are unrealized. All that is left is the testimony of a desolate land, empty cities of what once was. A promise lost. Divided and dispersed, the promise of restoration and unification seemed impossible as was stated in chapter 36. So God gives a sign to illustrate the fact of restoration and confirms the promise he has made for Israelís future.

1. CIRCUMSTANCES SAY IT IS HOPELESS AND THEY ARE HELPLESS1-4

Most Israelites may have doubted Godís promise to restore them again. Their present condition militated against that possibility.God brot Ezekiel to a valley and set him in the middle of it full of bones all around. The bones were numerous and very dry. They were there for so long that they had become bleached and baked under the hot sun in that valley. This emphasizes the impossibility of these bones ever having life again. It is absolutely hopeless and these who had once been alive helpless to live again. The description makes it clear that life is gone, never to return.

In vs 3 God††† asks†† the†† prophet a

remarkable question. Son of man can these dry bones live? Was there potential for life to return to these lifeless bones again? The point of the question is to have Ezekiel affirm the impossibility of these bones living again. Ezekiel knew that humanly speaking it was impossible. He affirms that when he says, O Lord God you know. He admits that only God can accomplish such a feat. This seems to be the key verse here. Circumstantially it is impossible for these bones to live. Israel was in captivity and their circumstances told them restoration was impossible. They could never determine what God is doing by looking at their circumstances. Circumstances told them it was hopeless and they were helpless. Circumstances told Jesus, for instance, not to go to Jerusalem. We can never determine what God is doing based on circumstances. they can tell you one thing and someone else another and unless God broke through to tell us exactly what it is He is up too, we would have no way of knowing. Circumstances must never determine our trust in God. Circumstantially, it looked impossible to trust in Godís promises to restore Israel. Again, circum,stmaces told them there was no hope vs 11. The surviving Israelites felt their national hopes had been dashed to pieces. They said that Israel had died in the flames of Babylonís attacks. Like unburied skeletons they were cut off from life and perished. That is what the circumstances said. Godís Word said something else.

2. YOU DETERMINE WHAT GOD IS DOING BY LOOKING AT HIS WORD 4-10

The content of this message was Godís promised restoration of His people. God is not promising to resurrect the people who have died in the land but to restore their descendents in the future in that land. A resurrection never happens in stages. These blanched bones will be given life again by God vs 5. These dead bones will gradually come back to life. They will receive sinew, flesh and skin 6-9. Then come to life and stand on their feet in vast numbers vs 10. The bones coming together, the flesh developing on them, the skin covering them, the breath entering them and then standing up on their feet indicates the progress in stages of Gods restoration of His people as a nation in the physical land of their ancestry. It is to this word that theyshouldlook toandtrustin not present circumstances.