Ezekiel’s astonishing story still relevant

Valley of Dry Bones shows God’s ability to resurrect

There is nothing else in the Bible like story of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14 where the prophet Ezekiel, whose book is full of startling visions, reveals the unlimited power of God.

The Revs. Mario Martinez and Taylor Robles say the prophecy was revealed to give 10,000 Israelites guidance and hope during their exile 500 miles away in Babylon between 597 and 538 B.C.

“Ezekiel is one of the most difficult books because of its prophetic meanings,” said the Rev. Martinez, pastor of Genesis Christian Church. “It’s a special book because part of it was already fulfilled and part is still waiting to be fulfilled.

“What I get from the story of the Valley of Dry Bones is that when things seem hard for us, nothing is impossible with God. As parents we see our children wander off and get lost in drugs or other addictions and we think everything is over. Then God comes and gives life again.

“I don’t see anything else like this in the Bible. Ezekiel himself is unique. He said he saw a vision and when we say a vision, we don’t necessarily mean it literally happened. However, the message is that God can do the impossible and bring Israel back to the Israelites.”

Martinez said another lesson in Ezekiel 37:1-14 is that life is often terrifying for non-believers. “It can be scary if we don’t believe in God and are not close to him,” he said.

Robles said a particularly striking aspect of the story is the complete reconstruction that God performs.

“When you look at the text, the bones are in this valley and the Lord puts them back together,” said Robles, minister of Sherwood Church of Christ. “He says, ‘Hear the Word of the Lord. Behold, I will cause breath to come into them and they will have life.’

“He begins to put them back together, tendons, muscles and skin, but then there is a problem. They’re still dead. So he breathes the spirit back into these dead bodies and they come alive, stand up and become a vast army.”

Robles said there is a modern application in that many people are spiritually dead.

“It’s interesting because when we look at people walking around in the world they have skin on their bones and tendons, but they are still dead because they don’t have the spirit of God living inside them,” he said, adding that the spiritually dead are exiled from life like the Israelites were exiled from their homeland because of their idolatry and other sins.

“It’s terrible looking at the people right now who are in exile,” he said. “They have had preachers pleading with them to repent, but to no avail.”