God spoke to Ezekiel at a time when Israel was exiled far from their homes, their families, and their God. It seemed that Israel was a dead nation – lost, broken, and scattered. But God had other plans. God would restore them one day, and he needed them to come together, to be strengthened in their faith, to be patient while they waited for that day.
God spoke to the prophet, Ezekiel, to reestablish God’s commitment to Israel. God said Israel would be like dry bones coming back to life. For a broken and weary people, this news would be like water in the desert. God promised that God wouldn’t leave them for dead, and that God had the power and the desire to restore Israel.
Sometimes the words of God’s promise are like water in the desert to us, too. There are so many ways we can experience brokenness and loss that feel like death. But even in the darkest hours, when hope seems lost, God has the power and the desire to restore us – however that restoration is played out. It might not be what we want or expect, but we can be assured God will never leave us for dead.
The 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. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I 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.” So 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. I 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. Then 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.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then 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.’ Therefore 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. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I 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.