Updated: Jan 30, 2019
God’s people rebelled against him, so God carried them out of the Promised Land. First, it was the northern kingdom, Israel. God sent the Assyrians to carry them away into captivity. Second, it was the southern kingdom, Judah. God sent the Babylonians to carry them away into captivity.
God’s people were in effect (if not literally) scattered to the four winds, but in Ezekiel 37 God’s prophet, Ezekiel, spoke of a day when God would call his Spirit to fill his people and gather his people from every direction. God’s people would occupy the Promised Land once again.
However, the situation of God’s people in the present moment seemed hopeless.
In captivity for a while with no end in sight, they said, “Our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off,” (Ezekiel 37:11). They were cutoff from the land God promised to them! Much more significantly, they felt cutoff from God!
And they understood that this was the result of their own sin; their own disobedience to God! In Ezekiel 33:10 they said, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?”
God asked Ezekiel the same question in Ezekiel 37:3. Looking at the dry bones of his people who were hopelessly dead in sin, God asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel was wise to answer as he did, “O Lord God, you know,” (Ezekiel 37:3b).
Only God knew if it was his will for these bones to live. If it was God’s will for these bones to remain dead, then no one could question that decision. His people had sinned and the price for sin is death.
But if it was God’s will for these bones to live, then no one except God had the power to bring them back to life. As Ezekiel 37 reveals, it was God's will to bring these dry bones back to life, but how did God bring these dry bones back to life?
Perhaps you’re broken over the sin in your own life and you're asking as God’s people did, “How then can I live before you, God?”
Perhaps you’ve been crying out to God, pleading with him to save a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or coworker, and you’re asking, “How can my friend or my son or daughter live before you, O God?”
Maybe you’ve been praying for true revival in our community or in our church, and you’ve been asking God, “How can this city live? How can our church live?”
Ezekiel 37:1-14 is the answer to that question. The passage shows us how God calls those dead in sin to new life.
So, how does he do it? He does it through the word of God, by the Spirit of God, to the glory of God!