We have a powerful word of encouragement today from the prophet Ezekiel, who was placed in the middle of the Valley of Dry Bones:
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'” (Ezekiel 37:1-6)
Let me ask you a question: Is there anything with less life in it than dry bones? The corpses Ezekiel saw had lain in the valley for so long that they were no longer recognizable as skeletons; all that remained were bones scattered across the floor of the valley. And they weren’t just dry; Scripture is careful to point out that they were “very dry.” There was no life in them whatsoever!
Yet God said He would make these dry bones stand on their feet and bring them back to life. And that is exactly what happened!
As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet — a vast army.(Ezekiel 37:7-10)
This is the picture of every human being—children of Adam by descent and by nature. We are all very much like these very dry bones scattered over the face of the earth, utterly dead in trespass and sins . . . until Jesus shows up. Jesus breathes the grace of the Gospel into our dead, dry bones and we are raised to walk in the newness of life. It has been well said that Jesus Christ did not die on the Cross to make sick men well; he died so that dead men might live.
But there is more! After God has brought life into our dead bones and covered us with the righteousness of Christ, He begins to knit us together to each other. To be sure, we are saved individually, but we are saved to community. God begins to attach one believer to another as He builds His church—one body with many members. He attaches the rich with the poor. He attaches the successful with the unsuccessful. He attaches the educated with the uneducated. He attaches the attractive with the unattractive. This does not happen with the people of the world; unsaved people segregate themselves in every area of life. Only in the church does this knitting together take place.
When we realize what we were before Jesus showed up—dry, lifeless bones—we break down the barriers that divide us and come together for something bigger than the life we are living. We begin living for the One who gave us life and we begin living it together as one family of faith.
The grace of the Gospel begins to transform us. The dry bones of sinful pride are drenched with the dew of heavenly humility. The dry bones of self-protection are soaked with the shower of self-sacrifice. And the dry bones of expanding our own little kingdom are drowned in the ocean of His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence as we begin expanding the Kingdom of God for His glory and the good of all others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!