Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
The most important place on this earth is the land of Israel. The Bible tells us that, and the world also proves that. The Muslims are constantly looking for a way to drive Israel into the sea. They want to obliterate her. The West is also aware of the importance of that land and that people. The hatred for Israel has been growing of late. Our country is in a very precarious place due to the disdain our current government has for that land and that people.
God began to develop that land and that nation historically in Genesis 11. He always had His plan in place. He chose Abram to be the physical father of that nation. In Genesis 12, God promised that He would make a great nation out of Abram. He also promised to bless those nations that would bless Israel and He would curse those nations that would curse Israel. Most people lack a Biblical understanding of the place of Israel in the world. Even Abram (later called Abraham by God), failed to understand the significance of God’s plan. Abraham listened to his wife Sarah and sinned against God in taking Hagar as the woman he would use to “assist” God in His promise of nation building. Abraham had a son with Hagar and God told her to name him Ishmael. God also promised that Ishmael would be a great nation and he would be a wild man living amongst his brethren, but not getting along with them. His descendants have proved God right in their attitude toward the nation of Israel.
At the time of our text, God has built Israel into a great nation. They have been established in the land that was once called the land of Canaan. It was changed to the land of Israel. Many Bible maps list that land as the land of Palestine. It is not the land of Palestine. It was given that name by the Romans as a way to try to discredit and insult the Jews.
True Christians need to learn to call that land by the name that God gave it. It is Israel. The last two letters of that name are “el”. That is the name of God. God owns that land and His desire was to be the God of that people. Through their faithfulness to Him, the rest of the world would be drawn to God. However, Israel did not want to be the people of God. They chose to look to the pagan nations around them too often for help and for direction. They chose idolatry for much of their existence. They still had the Temple and they still kept the feast days, but not as God intended them and they wanted to mix God with their paganism.
Christianity has followed the philosophy of Israel in many ways. God never promised a piece of land to Christians. Christians were given their name by the enemies of God to set them apart. It was not a badge of honour. It was intended to be a mark of shame by the enemies of God. True Christianity has nothing to be ashamed of. However, Christianity has been polluted by paganism as well. We have noted some of that. It is important that each generation take God’s Word as their authority and build upon the truth.
God demonstrated through Israel that He is righteous and He is also longsuffering. He gave them many years to note the importance of knowing Him and following Him. However, the time came when He judged them very forcefully. He sent the northern tribes into exile in about 722-721 B.C. He brought the Assyrians in to capture them and occupy that land.
The Southern tribe of Judah was sent into captivity around 598 B.C. God sent the Babylonians to capture them.
Ezekiel was a captive of the Babylonians and was likely taken captive during the second wave against Judah in around 597-596 B.C. Thus as we look at our passage, Israel is not living as a free nation in their land. Ezekiel was a priest and a contemporary of Daniel.
Notice in verse 1 that the hand of the LORD was upon Ezekiel. The word “LORD” is all capitalized and it is the translation of the Hebrew word “Jehovah”. Jehovah is the name of the LORD that defines Him as the self-existent God.
Israel was in trouble because they had rebelled against God. They needed to humble themselves and repent, but the nation did not do that. Ezekiel was a true servant of God before they went into exile. He was not being punished for his own sins, but he was part of the nation of Israel and God was punishing the nation at this time. God’s people can know His peace regardless of their circumstances. Ezekiel did not write to complain about his lot. He wrote according to God’s will and exalted God in what he wrote. Of course, he was directed by God to write what he wrote.
In our time, we are witnessing how our society has replaced God with humanism. Our society has decided that God is outdated and they would rather be dictated to by ungodly drama queens like our current P.M. or by wicked people like our federal chief medical officer or even our own provincial chief medical officer. These people have proven themselves to be less than honest and also not following real science.
Those who are true Christians do not need to walk around and grumble and complain about our lot. We can still know God’s peace in our hearts today. We can know His blessing. The book of Ezekiel was written with the nation of Israel as its main focus. There is much for the Christians and the lost to learn from God’s Word today.
God is showing us the blessing of having His hand upon us when we know Him and are walking with Him. The hand of the LORD is powerful and a blessing for the saved but not something to toy with.
Ezekiel was directed by God to remind the Jews and Gentiles alike that this was not something that Ezekiel was making up. Ezekiel was a man who believed in God and God could use him to speak to the future of the nation of Israel. God wants us to know Him and He wants us to know what has happened and what is going to happen. This is all part of what we looked at a couple of days ago where some of the men of Issachar had an understanding of the times.
Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet and he was directed to tell us that he was directed in the spirit of the LORD. We have already talked about the fact that in the Bible there were people that God directed through direct access to His Spirit. God does not work that way today. We have the completed Scriptures and that is our direct message from God. The Holy Spirit indwells every true child of God and part of His ministry is to help God’s children to understand God’s Word.
The Spirit of the LORD sat Ezekiel down in the valley full of bones. Ezekiel did not need to purchase a plane ticket to get to where God took him. He did not need to get on a train, and he did not even need to hop on a camel. God took him in the Spirit to the place that God wanted him to be.
Verse 2 tells us that God took Ezekiel on a tour of the valley of bones. These bones had been there for some time now. There was no flesh on them. They did not smell. It was not an unhealthy place for Ezekiel to be. The text tells us the bones were very dry. What was God doing here? We will see soon.
In verse 3 God encouraged Ezekiel to think about what he was seeing. Ezekiel was not unconscious as this was taking place. He was alert and he could think. God wanted Ezekiel to think about what he was seeing. Ezekiel did not have a yes or no answer and simply left the answer to this question in God’s hands. Ezekiel was a humble servant of the LORD. He was not showing indifference. He was submitting to God’s sovereignty and was going to let God show Him the facts.
In verse 4, the LORD told Ezekiel to prophecy upon these dead and dry bones. Now Ezekiel had a real test here. Just how submissive was he to the LORD? Would he trust the LORD, even if what God was asking of him did not seem logical?
This is a picture of the Christian life. True Christians walk by faith, not by sight. In fact lost people need to trust God if they are going to get saved. It is not logical to trust in blood that was shed about 2,000 years ago as the way of salvation today. By faith the lost sinner believes what God says and through faith he is saved. Salvation is a gift of the Creator God Who is also the Sustainer of the world.
We were discussing this matter just recently. If God were to leave man to himself, we would have destroyed ourselves and our environment long ago. Some years ago there was an oil spill in the gulf of Mexico and the “scientists” at that time stated that the water would be contaminated with the oil for years to come. They also said that it would wipe out all the life that was in the water. Amazingly, when these same people went back to check how bad things were a year later, they found that the sea life was very alive and well and that there was little if any evidence that there had even been a spill there. They discovered that there were live creatures in the water that consumed the residual of that oil spill and cleaned up that sight in rather short order. If the water was a result of evolution, it would not have these creatures in it. However, the water has a Designer who knows everything. God created the water. He created the water prior to the fall of man. However, even after man fell, God still looked after man and the animals and even the sea creatures.
The atomic bomb that was dropped to end the second world war was a very powerful and deadly bomb. It killed many people. However, the residual from that bomb is not still floating around killing people. God has a way of overriding man’s wickedness and stupidity and has provided a way for man to live in a sin-cursed world and live fairly healthy lives. We are seeing sicknesses today that were not around years earlier. We are also discovering that some of those sicknesses are because man has tampered with God’s design for our food and it is harming us.
There are many ways that God is overriding man’s foolishness and providing for man to be able to not just survive, but even to thrive and reproduce. We know that evil man has a desire to experiment with other human beings. We know they are murdering many unborn children and they are taking body parts from those unborn children and selling them for other purposes. Some of the shots they are trying to force on humanity at this time, have murdered baby body parts in them as part of their makeup. Man is wicked. God is good.
In our text, the LORD taught Ezekiel some important truths about Himself. He also wants you and I to know His greatness and how important it is for us to know Him and trust in Him. If you are reading this and still wondering if there is a true God, slow down and listen to what God is saying here. Take some time to consider the question that God asked Ezekiel. Consider as well what God is commanding Ezekiel to do. God is not an evil power hungry person like our P.M. and many in our medical and judicial system. God is not being unreasonable. He is just and He has a purpose in what He is giving us in this text. We will look further at this in the days ahead.