Song of the Day
The Day’s Scripture
1 The Lord’s power overcame me, and while I was in the Lord’s spirit, he led me out and set me down in the middle of a certain valley. It was full of bones. 2 He led me through them all around, and I saw that there were a great many of them on the valley floor, and they were very dry.
3 He asked me, “Human one, can these bones live again?”
I said, “Lord God, only you know.”
4 He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, Dry bones, hear the Lord’s word! 5 The Lord God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again. 6 I will put sinews on you, place flesh on you, and cover you with skin. When I put breath in you, and you come to life, you will know that I am the Lord.”
7 I prophesied just as I was commanded. There was a great noise as I was prophesying, then a great quaking, and the bones came together, bone by bone. 8 When I looked, suddenly there were sinews on them. The flesh appeared, and then they were covered over with skin. But there was still no breath in them.
9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath
; prophesy, human one! Say to the breath
, The Lord God proclaims: Come from the four winds, breath! Breathe
into these dead bodies and let them live.”
10 I prophesied just as he commanded me. When the breath entered them, they came to life and stood on their feet, an extraordinarily large company.
11 He said to me, “Human one, these bones are the entire house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely finished.’ 12 So now, prophesy and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: I’m opening your graves! I will raise you up from your graves, my people, and I will bring you to Israel’s fertile land. 13 You will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you up from your graves, my people. 14 I will put my breath in you, and you will live. I will plant you on your fertile land, and you will know that I am the Lord. I’ve spoken, and I will do it. This is what the Lord says.”
Ezekiel was a prophet in the 6th century BC prophesying during Israel’s Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel anticipated the destruction of Jerusalem, the restoration of the people to the land of Israel, and he had visions around the rise of the 3rd Temple.
Our passage gives a powerful vision of the renewal of the people. There are, however, three stages to this renewal process. First the dry bones come together again, bone by bone. Flesh appears on them, but there is still no breath in the corpses. Second, the prophesy comes again on the dead bodies, the breath enters them, and they come to life and stand as a large company. But still, restoration is incomplete. The entire house of Israel lifts a complaint: Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely finished. The third phase is God’s promise to plant then on fertile land.
Perhaps, here on our Lenten journey, we can see these 3 stages as Jesus’ 3 days in the tomb before resurrection. There is the promise of fulfillment and victory and restoration in the end. And yet, we are dynamically in process . . . still having hope challenged, still parched in the desert, still with the threat of destruction looming around us daily. Nevertheless, Sunday is coming. Easter is coming and the Word of the Lord has gone out: “I’ve spoken, and I will do it. This is what the Lord says.”
How deep does our healing need to go? The dead places in our heart are rooted deep, deep down there. We need repetition in our lives. We need truth spoken to us over and over. We need the prophet’s words to come to us as love-notes from our God. We can be restored and yet we need the Spirit to come and lift our fears, our doubts, to heal deep wounds. Not only to stand again, but to thrive and be fruitful in the land again.
Take solace in knowing that the verbs are God’s. God will lay sinews on you; cause flesh to come upon you, cover you with skin, put breath in you. In this way , you shall know that He is the Lord! Furthermore, it is God will open your graves; bring you up from your graves; put his spirit within you; and place you on your own soil. Then, you will know that the Lord has spoken and will act.