Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones

The following article is an excerpt from "A Book of Bible Study"

by Joseph F. Harwood.


To download the book in PDF format, visit our home page at https://www.abookofbiblestudy.net/


In Ezekiel 37, the prophet recounts his experience in the Valley of the Dry Bones. Ezekiel was brought by the Spirit of the Lord into a valley where there were many bones scattered over the ground. The Lord led him back and forth among the bones, and then He asked him if the dry bones could live again. Ezekiel replied to the Lord that He alone knew whether the dry bones of these slain could be brought back to life again.


Then the Lord commanded Ezekiel to prophesy His words to the dry bones, saying that He would attach tendons to them and put flesh upon them, cover them with skin, and put breath into them so that they would come to life. Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded, and he heard a rattling sound as the bones came together, bone to bone. Then tendons and flesh appeared on the bones, and skin covered them also, but there was no breath of life in them.


At this point the Lord again told Ezekiel to prophesy, telling him to command breath to come from the four winds and breathe into them so they would live again. The prophet did as he was commanded. Breath then entered the bodies of these slain, and they stood up on their feet (Ezekiel 37:3-10).


The men of this vast army had been dead for a long time, with only their bones remaining scattered over the ground. All hope they had for this life had long since perished. Only the power of our sovereign God could bring life back to them again, and at His command, He who calls those who are dead to life as only He can do, that is exactly what happened.


After Ezekiel had witnessed this demonstration of God’s power in restoring life to these many slain, the Lord applied what the prophet had just seen to the situation of His people Israel and the feelings of hopelessness they were experiencing while in exile, as the passage continues:


Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.  I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’”

(Ezekiel 37:11-14).


Even when our situation appears to be hopeless, and we feel that “our bones are dried up and our hope has perished” and we are “cut off” from any hope of deliverance, our God will bring life and good from the “death” that our troubles have wrought in our lives, just as Jesus taught us in John 12:24-26. And what God has spoken through His word, that will He do. Every promise that God has spoken through His word has the same power and certainty of fulfillment as His command to the dry bones to live again.


God said in Isaiah 41:8-10, 13-14, 17-20, and also in Ezekiel 37:1-14 not that He might help His people, but He said repeatedly that He will help His people. God, who is able even to raise the dead, will deliver us in our times of trouble, in His time and according to His plan for our lives.


The time is coming for us when He will “open our graves” and bring us up from the seeming hopelessness of the overwhelming burden that we are facing. And then we will know that He is the Lord; not if, but when He opens our graves, brings us up from them, and restores life and hope to us in the midst of our own troubling circumstances, which may seem to us to be as hopeless and impossible as the dry bones of the long dead coming back to life again (Ezekiel 37:13).


For related Bible studies, click on the links below: