The early chapters of his written messages are not happy reading, with the glory of the Lord departing from His temple because of His people’s unfaithful devotion to idolatrous alternatives. It is made painfully clear their national decline and overthrow by enemies has been permitted because of their disobedience to the Lord Who had previously blessed and prospered them in this land of ‘promise’. Now the future appears bleak.
Especially when in chapter 37 God brings His prophet spokesperson to a valley filled with dry bones. It’s not even an ordered graveyard but the grim remains of a defeated army whose bodies have been left to rot where they fell on the battlefield! It’s a picture of Israel a nation defeated and in ruins.
And God asks Ezekiel, ‘Can these bones live again?’
When things are this far gone we might well wonder is there any hope of renewal for individuals, congregations, communities, nations. But then we believe in a God Who raises the dead…
The godly prophet expresses no opinion but wisely seeks the will of the Almighty, ‘ Sovereign Lord, you know.’ Neither dour cynicism or shallow optimism are appropriate, only humble submission to Divine grace.
First Ezekiel is instructed to preach God’s Word to the bones and then pray to the ‘breath’ of life. And as he does -well, I’ll not spoil it for you, read the outcome for yourself.
But let’s just say we should prepare to be amazed at what revival may come about when believers earnestly talk to people about God, and talk to God about people!