Ezekiel 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
The Bible tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The salvation of souls is of utmost importance to God. Deuteronomy 32:10 tells us that God saw Israel as the “apple of His eye”. Israel was nothing special when God chose Abram. None of us are anything special, and yet God in His mercy and grace provides the way for anyone and all to be saved. He chose to work with a people, Israel, to demonstrate His mercy and grace and all the rest of His attributes to the world.
In this chapter God is giving Ezekiel a message of hope for the nation of Israel. Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon as he was receiving this message from the LORD. His message might seem like a strange message, but it was a spiritual message. God used the illustration of the dry bones in a valley, to show the current situation within Israel. Israel was a nation of dry bones. It was a nation that was spiritually dead. They were in exile because they had rejected God. Those who reject God are spiritually dead. We see a picture as well of the promise of the resurrection in these verses. There will be those whose bones have turned back to dust and there will be those whose bones will be dried out and no flesh or sinews left on them. Yet, God will bring the bones of the just back to life with the sinews and the flesh to enter into His eternal kingdom. God will bring the bones of the unjust back to life with the sinews and the flesh to spend eternity in the lake of fire.
God did not design man to be spiritually dead.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Adam was just a lump of dirt that was shaped in the form of a man prior to God’s intervention in that pile of dirt. God shaped man from the dirt. He then breathed into man the breath of life. God says that man became a living soul. Man was created with a direct connection to God. He could commune with God. Adam did not appreciate the blessing that he had. He chose to listen to a lie and that was a very costly choice. Adam lost his privileged place with God. He did not lose his salvation. He was not a sinner who had been saved. He was created free from sin and fell into sin. Adam’s decision was one that no other person will ever be able to make.
All of Adam’s descendants are born spiritually dead. Eve was deceived and she is the mother of all. In our text, God was speaking to Ezekiel about the spiritual vacuum within the nation of Israel. God gave Ezekiel a very important and necessary message for the nation of Israel. The message that God gave to Israel was a two point message as we will see.
In verse 6 God addressed both of those points. He would dress up the pile of bones that Ezekiel was shown in the valley. God would put sinew upon them. He would put flesh and skin on those bones. God also declared that He would put breath into the bodies of the nation of Israel. The end result of God’s actions would be that Israel would recognize the LORD as the true God.
In verse 7, Ezekiel proved himself a true servant of God. He humbly submitted to God’s command and prophesied to those bones as he was commanded. That is what God demands of His children. We have another prophet who was given a message to a nation other than Israel. That man was Jonah. He did not want to obey God. He tried to get away from God, but he could not do that. Jonah was a servant of God. He had chosen to follow God, but he was not willing to submit to God in all things. He had some things to learn. He eventually went to Nineveh to preach a message of warning and repentance to them. He was looking forward to God’s judgment upon that wicked city. He did not have a heart of mercy and love toward others. He obeyed, but not with the right heart. He needed to learn that that was not acceptable for a servant of the LORD.
Every true pastor is preaching to some spiritually dead people every week. He needs to be faithful to God’s Word and preach the words of life to those dead people. It is never a waste of time to preach God’s Word. Sometimes the preacher will observe that there are those who are not very interested in the truth. The preacher is not an entertainer. He does not need to find a joke that can “lighten up” the atmosphere. He does not need to steer away from that which is needed and yet hard to receive. He needs to be a faithful servant of God and preach the whole counsel of God and let God do His Work in the lives of the spiritually dead as well as those who are spiritually alive.
In our text we see that God had already been teaching Ezekiel many things by the time we come to chapter 37. Ezekiel had a humble heart and he was not a vengeful man who wanted to see others suffer. He spoke the truth with a heart that desired to see God glorified.
We see in verse 7 that God blessed the message that He gave to Ezekiel. That is the way God works. The message was not Ezekiel’s. It was God’s message. Ezekiel was the vehicle that God chose to deliver His message. That is what Biblical inspiration is about. It is God breathed words that carry the power and authority of the LORD. The effects will be different, depending on the hearts of the hearers. Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest. He was one of 40 holy men that God chose to give man His sure Word.
No pastor today is a prophet or a priest of God in the same manner as Ezekiel was. Pastors need to preach from God’s inspired Word, but their words are not inspired by God. God will use the preacher’s words if they are faithful to His Word. The Bible tells us that those who are saved are a “royal priesthood”. We are called to intercede for the saints and for the ungodly.
In our text, God is looking beyond the time in which Ezekiel was living. Part of the message has been fulfilled now, and part of it is still waiting to be fulfilled.
In verse 8 we see that the sinews and the flesh came together on the bones. We see that the skin covered the bones, flesh and sinews. You notice in that verse that these bodies had no breath in them. That is where Israel is at today. God brought them back to their land in 1948. God used different groups of people to bring that about. We know from history that when Israel took back part of their land, the Muslims did not like it. We also know that other countries did not want to support Israel’s return to the land. The Muslims tried to destroy Israel as a fledgling nation through a couple of wars. England and other countries that could have helped Israel stood back and watched. God protected Israel and showed those who dared to attack her that it was a very bad move. When I was in Israel, there were still Egyptian tanks sitting in the deserts of Judaea from one of those invasions. God stopped those tanks and Israel was protected. God brought Israel back into the land that He promised to Abraham. Israel is not occupying the land. The Muslims were occupying the land prior to God giving the land back to Israel. Israel today has only a portion of the land that God promised to Abraham. One day, in the Millennium, Israel will have all the land that God promised to Abraham and they will acknowledge Him as the LORD. The Lord Jesus Christ will be their Messiah and King.
God has a plan and He is working to fulfil that plan. He is waiting for Israel in our context to acknowledge Him as their LORD. He is also waiting for Gentiles the world over to turn to Him in repentance and be saved. Those that are called to preach need to be faithful to His command and preach His Word faithfully, thus giving the lost the opportunity to turn to Him in repentance and be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Every true child of God is commanded by God to be a faithful witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a great privilege we have been given.