In the vision of Ezekiel 37, God led the prophet into a valley filled with dry bones. “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many . . . and . . . they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37:1-2, ESV). What an awful scene—a vast stretch filled with skeletons as far as Ezekiel could see.
Maybe like Ezekiel you have wondered, “God, all I can see before me are difficult things. Why are You leading me through this dark valley?” It is because in the valley of dry bones, there is no other source of life. We have no breath of our own there, no power or strength. The valley of death brings us to a place of total dependency. Two thousand thirteen was one of the hardest years of my life—yet, looking back, I thank God for every moment of it. Amidst all of my life’s dry bones, I see that God orchestrated a place where my life ends and His life begins.
The valley of dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision reveals two things to us:
First, it represents the condition of God’s people. I love Christ’s Church; I cannot study enough about it or pray enough over it. It is God’s greatest vessel on earth to express His nature and show His power. But I also have a burden because today many churches are filled with dry bones. This is not a criticism, it is a reality. As Christians, we can grow dry before we know it. Jesus put it this way: “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4, ESV). We can go through the motions yet have no life at all inside.
The second thing I see revealed in Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones is our culture. At one time we were a nation that honored God. Seventy percent of Americans once professed Christ and attended church. The latest statistics show that number is now merely eight percent. We are living amidst spiritual darkness—we reside in a valley of dry bones!
How can a dry-bones church—one that is lifeless, prayerless, lukewarm—ever speak to a dry-bones culture? It can’t happen unless our spirits are revived, awakened by the Holy Spirit.