Dry Bones in the Closet
37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Halloween time always brings back memories from my childhood. When I was just a little tike, I wanted to stay up late and watch the Halloween monster movies like so many of my friends. My parents didn’t allow me to do so, therefore, one Halloween night I snuck down to watch TV after everyone else had gone to sleep. My eyeballs were bloodshot and popping out with suspense from witnessing the monstrous smorgasbord of mummies, vampires, and werewolves on the TV screen. I was getting a bit sleepy, so I thought it might help to grab a late night snack from the kitchen.
When I returned to the couch, I noticed there were some strange creaking and knocking sounds coming from the closet. Was my imagination playing tricks on me or were there really skeletons in the closet? I was deathly afraid to look in the closet, but even more afraid not to look. I just had to get it over with, so I gradually began turning the closet doorknob when suddenly my two sneaking brothers opened the door and yelled BOO!!!! at the top of their lungs. I ran up the stairs to my room as fast as my little legs could take me. If I hadn’t have had a birthday coming up two days later, I don’t know when I would have made my way out of my room ever again.
The people of Israel had had their own share of skeletons in the national closet. Their spiritual rebellion had led to exile, which led to not only literal death but also the death of their covenant relationship with God. Ezekiel described them like bones. Dry…dead…separate. There was not a bit of sinewy collagen to connect anyone to anything…anywhere.
The prophet gets addressed with a very practical question. Can these bones live? The normal answer to this question is……of course not! Dead bones have the tendency to stay dead, unless you happen to be watching Zombie movies on Halloween. This question, however, is posed by the God of creation. That which he creates he can re-create. He breathes into dust and out pops a living soul. He takes a man too old to have children and makes for himself a Father of a nation. He takes a boy too small to fit into Saul’s armor and slays a nine foot plus giant. When he needs a mother for the Messiah (the king of the Jews), he breathes his life into a peasant woman named Mary. The same Spirit that hovered over creation is now hovering over the skeletal remains of a nation. The Father begins to sing the song of creation over a dry, dead people.
Your leg bone connected to your knee bone
Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone
Your hip bone connected to your back bone
Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone
Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone
Your neck bone connected to your head bone
Now hear the word of the Lord!
It’s true! Only the God of creation and resurrection can breathe life back into the dead. But guess what? You have a part to play in all of this. Today, He invites us to be the ones who call it forth. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” God says, “prophecy to the breath”. Speak to the Spirit! Speak life! In a nation littered with dead bones, we speak life! We speak blessing into the curse. We speak hope out of despair! We speak healing into a world beyond human repair. All of this is made possible because we know, love, and serve the God who raises the dead.
“We call out to dry bones, come alive, come alive!”