I've heard that old spiritual for years about Ezekiel and the valley full of dry bones that came back to life, but the other day I finally found the story in the Bible. I gather God gave Ezekiel a vision of this, but I'm confused about what it means. Maybe you can help me. — F.G.
Yes, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision of a desert valley full of scattered, dry bones, such as you might see years after a major battle. As Ezekiel scanned it, God asked him a simple question: "Can these bones live?" (Ezekiel 37:3).
The logical answer was "No" - but as Ezekiel watched, the bones began to come together at the command of God's Word. Gradually they took on human form as flesh became attached to the bones, and then at God's command through Ezekiel they came alive: "Breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army" (Ezekiel 37:10).
What was the meaning of this vision? First, God was telling Ezekiel that the ancient Jewish nation - scattered and destroyed in Ezekiel's time by war and violence - some day would come back to life. God would not abandon His people or forget His promises. This literally came true in the generations after Ezekiel.
But God also, I believe, was pointing us to Jesus Christ, and the new life He offers to all who put their faith and trust in Him. Like those lifeless bones, the Bible says we are spiritually dead because of sin. But when we come to Christ, He forgives our sins and we become spiritually alive. The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins ... God made you alive with Christ" (Colossians 2:13). Has this happened to you?