Yes, it's true. I'm a Halloween Scrooge. I make no bones about it. Boo-humbug! People's fascination for the macabre and gruesome seem to be a worldwide thing. It's no wonder the numbing effect of the exposure to horror scenes has spurred on a less than furious response to the outrageous murders over the past few decades. Whether it's graveyards decorating someone's front lawn, an over-the-top display festivities at work, or a witches and goblins parade downtown, there will always be a fascination for such things. So, as a Halloween Scrooge, I'd like to show you an outrageously scary display God did before Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones.
This account of Ezekiel is is fascinating and ugly at the same time. God transported this mighty prophet in the spirit, much how I described the narrator and reader in Trail of Blood Mystery series; one moment he was one place, the next he was somewhere else. Philip experienced this miraculous transport as did Paul. Where Ezekiel landed was not a place I would have chosen. He was in a desert valley full of bones bleached white by the scorching sun. I imagine them being so dry, they would easily snap if stepped upon.
There was something important God wanted to show him. God asked Ezekiel, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Obviously, they can't on their own, but the prophet knew that only God could do anything. The faith of Ezekiel is amazing in itself because anyone else would have said no to God about the potential for those bones to spring to life.
God did something amazing for Ezekiel, something spectacular. I almost want to grab the popcorn and sit back to watch this splendid spine-tingler. He told Ezekiel, to prophesy to the bone yard. What this means is that Ezekiel would tell the bones what God said to tell them. For some reason, certain Christian groups take this term prophesy the wrong direction. In his own language, Ezekiel told the bones what God said. “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.’” (Isaiah 37:4-5) No dancing. No funny jibberish. Simple plain Hebrew, that's all. Guess what? That is just what those bones did.
You are probably thinking, "Come on, Char. It's Monday morning while you are reading this passage. Grab a few more coffees, then re-read it." Nope. I'm awake. That's what it says alright! A rattling sound like no other vibrated through the valley, echoing off the dunes as sand kicked up around them. Those bones began to pull together in anatomically correct position. Muscles and tendons, the skin, hair, nails, and eyes appeared on each body. They were intact bodies likely with the wounds, but no life was in them. So now we have a valley of corpses!
God wasn't done with Ezekiel's object lesson. He had something else for him to say to these bones. "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, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”(Ezekiel 37:9) Suddenly these bodies were on their feet, a vast army, living and breathing! God wanted to show Ezekiel He was going to bring life back to "dead" Israel. The Israel who had wandered far from God having been made captive to foreign groups. He would bring them back to Himself.
Today's state of the Christian church is somewhat bleak. Some are dead at times, others gasping for breath.. We can only be responsible for our own faith. Where are you today? Do you pray, or has your prayer life ceased. Do you worship God, or do you worship at Saint Mattress? Do you read your Bible eager to see what God has to say today, or is your Bible covered with dust and cobwebs somewhere? Have we caved in to the pressures of society around us being held captive by them? If so, come back to the life giving faith in Jesus Christ before it's too late. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b) Do you have life? Let God breathe life into your faith.
May God bless you!