1The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." 4Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on 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."
7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act, says the LORD."
There are moments in our lives when it feels like our faith is all dried up, all hope is gone, and life cannot possible be restored. Whether it's the tragic loss of a loved one or a sudden change in employment or the slow progression of a chronic disease, we all, at one time or another, dwell in the valley of dry bones. For God's people, Israel, it meant being in exile in Babylon, far from home, far from the temple, far from God's promises. Could their life ever be restored? Could their faith return? Was a future for them possible?
These are the questions the Lord asks the prophet Ezekiel. "Mortal, can these bones live?" "O Lord God, you know," Ezekiel responds. The Lord then commands Ezekiel, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord." The prophet speaks and the bones come to life. Through the speaking of God's Word, life returns, hope is restored, a future is made possible.
God's Word is a powerful Word. It is life-giving, life-changing, life-transforming. It is a Word that creates life, forgives Sin, and conquers death. It is a Word that speaks hope into despair, bring healing in the midst of brokenness, and summons us into relationship. It is a Word that commands us to follow, calls us to love, and teaches us Truth.
No matter how lost you may seem, know that there is no valley into which God's Word cannot speak and bring you out of death and into the life that only God can give. Even in the valley of dry bones, there is still hope.
Lord, when I am tired, give me rest. When I am filled with despair, give me hope. When I am dead inside, speak your Word of life. In Jesus' name, Amen.