He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”
“Son of man, can these bones live?” It is the question to which I do not have an answer. I look around at the world and realize that there are lots of dry bones walking around. God explains that the bones are Israel. I went looking for other verses to compare and try to understand the notion of dried up bones. What I found leads me to think that “bones” are a stand-in for well-being and health. If one’s bones are moist, then one is hale and hearty and full of vim and vigor. Dry bones seem to be indicative of sickness and distress. These people do not feel well or strong or any such thing. They are without hope. The actual question being asked is this: “Can people who are unsound in themselves; unwell to the very core; hopeless and helpless be made whole, healthy, sound, and alive to the very core?” I know that nothing is impossible where God is concerned and I know that He has given us choice in the matter.
Ezekiel’s answer is insightful. His “O Lord GOD, You know.” reveals that he does not know for certain, but knows Who does. The prophet turns back to the God Who asked the question and says, in essence, “I do not know whether or not these bones can live, but You, God, are quite certain of the answer to that. Can they live?” So many believers were once like those bones; seemingly devoid of life and all potential for it. Find them now and they overflow with life.
What is the point? Why is this important to me today? In essence, I need to take a cue from the prophet. He looks at the valley filled with bones so dry and to seem like they will turn to dust and be blown away by the wind. Instead, God tells him to prophesy (speak God’s Word) to them and they begin to come back to life. God tells him to talk to the breath (can also be rendered: wind, Spirit) and the Spirit enters them and makes them alive. I, too, need to speak God’s Word to all, especially those who seem least likely to receive it, and pray that the Holy Spirit will use those words to bring Life into dead lives. I confess, I am terrible about sharing the gospel with people. The challenge of this passage is to speak and pray and leave results to God. I may never hear the bones clatter to standing or see them cover over with muscle, sinew, and skin. I may not b present when the Spirit breathes life into a dead being, but that is not relevant. Will I speak God’s Word to the dry bones in my world? Will I pray for the Spirit to breathe life into them? The answer to both questions needs to be: Yes.