Ezekiel 37 -- 39
After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, most of the Israelites who remained alive were scattered throughout Babylon, forced to live among exiles from many different heathen nations. Since their Temple and the city of God were destroyed, all hope for the restoration of a national Jewish homeland had been abandoned. Eventually, under Cyrus, the Israelites were no longer treated as slaves, but as colonists; and many of them accumulated considerable wealth. As the years passed, they intermarried and gradually united in language and customs with their neighbors.
It was at this time that Ezekiel was given a new vision, and said: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones (Ezekiel 37:1; compare 37:3,9; 39:11). The bones were very dry and bleached, having been there for some time. Ezekiel was asked a question by the Lord: Son of Man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, You know. Again He said to me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say . . . hear the Word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live (37:3-5).
Humanly speaking, as a nation Israel was literally and spiritually dead and without hope of restoration. However, it was not buried. Ezekiel continued to prophesy: There was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone (37:7). The dry, scattered bones became complete skeletons, and then bodies with physical life. Ezekiel proclaimed the Word of the Lord God as he was commanded, and the breath (Spirit) came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great army (37:10). Although the Israelites were saying: Our hope is lost: we are cut off from the Land of Promise (37:11), this army represented the future restored people of Israel.
Ezekiel was commanded to proclaim the Good News: You shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves . . . and shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land (37:12-14). This was an assurance from God that the Israelites would once again return to the Land of Promise and become a sovereign nation. After more than 2500 years, the Israelites today do exist as a nation within the Promised Land. However, the best is yet to come! God still has a merciful purpose for restoring the Kingdom of Israel that will fulfill His promises to Abraham and David concerning Israel's Messiah King, Jesus Christ, who will rule the world.
All mankind is in the valley of death -- dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The valley of dry bones is also a description of the moral and spiritual condition of our sinful human nature apart from the quickening (life-giving), transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We too must come to the place where we see the hopelessness of self-righteous efforts to earn the right to enter Heaven.
Eternal life is made possible only when we believe the Word of God, repent of our sins, and receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and then allow Him to be Lord of our lives (Romans 8). For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
As the One who made possible the resurrection from the grave. Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:12; also John 11:25; I Thess. 4:16).
37:26 place means settle, establish; 38:8 been always waste means restored from desolate; 38:19 shaking means earthquake; 39:3 smite means strike; 39:4 ravenous birds means birds of prey; 39:6 carelessly means securely; 39:14 sever out means select; passengers means those passing by; 39:23 trespassed against means were unfaithful to.
Government Officials: Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI) and Rep. Sonny Callahan (AL) · Pray for Richard Dingman, President, IBRA · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: Chad (5 million) in north-central Africa · Major languages: French and Arabic · Limited religious freedom · 35% Muslim; 31% animist; 11% Protestant; 5% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to the Lord with earnestness night and day (I Thessalonians 3:10).
Memory Verse for the Week: