This is probably the most famous passage in the book of Ezekiel and is the third vision given by God to the prophet in this book. A prophecy containing a very vivid description of restoration brought about by God’s sovereignty.
Often I am interested and amazed at some of the historical and archaeology programs on television, bringing history alive. Sometimes experts will take a model of a skull and with clay will reform muscle groups, ligaments and finally skin to give a human likeness of the long dead person. At the end of the day the result is no matter how lifelike still a corpse! The question to Ezekiel – “can these bones live” is answered “O Lord God, you know.” The coming together of bones, sinews and flesh in v 7 – 8 still lacked the spark of life – ‘the breath of God.’
The original word of prophecy was for the encouragement of the exiles in regards to their despair and hopelessness: a word of restoration. The key word throughout this passage is ‘live’ (v 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 & 14) followed by the word ‘breath or Spirit (v 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14).’ Job speaks in Ch.33 v 4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life,” and Isaiah speaks in Ch.32 v 15 “until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest,” both speak of abundant increasing life because of the Holy Spirit. The result is seen in verse 10 – an exceedingly great army.
Do we long for such restoration in our times? Are we part of God’s great army or just a remnant hanging on? We need to be a Spirit filled, restored people who have accepted the new covenant in Christ Jesus. The latter part of this chapter comes to a climax in v 26-27, “I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them – My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” We know that this everlasting covenant extends to us through Jesus, we are the dwelling place of God and we are his people. This has happened through the restoration of Jesus from death to resurrection the overcoming of evil and his leading us into abundant life. Praise and thank you Lord!
In John 6 v 63 Jesus says “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Anything that is not built on the foundation of God and breathed life into by the Holy Spirit will be destined to become like that valley of dry bones. The fact that these were unburied bones indicated a sudden happening that came over them. Events are happening rapidly in this world, but God is still seeking people who will work with him to bring abundant, restored life.