Ezekiel 37:1-11 talks about dry bones. How could this be appliciable to
ones life?


The passage you ask about is a prophecy about the return of Israel to the
promised land. In order to understand this, you must know the background
to the book. The nation of Israel had separated into two states about 930
BC. The Northern Kingdom was known as Samaria or Israel. The Southern
Kingdom was called Judah. Samaria was destroyed as an independent state
in 722 BC by the Assyrians. Judah held on for over one hundred years.
However, in 605 BC Jerusalem was attacked by the armies of
Nebuchadnezzar. At this time, some captives were taken to Babylon,
including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Foolishly, Judah
rebelled and stopped sending tribute, so Nebuchadnezzar returned with his
armies in 597 BC, At this time, thousands of captives were taken to
Babylon and other cities of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire. Ezekiel was included
in this group. Nebuchadnezzar left behind a puppet king, Zedekiah. Very
unwisely, Zedekiah rebelled a few years later. Nebuchadnezzar returned
for a third time, this time killing many, taking more captives, destroying
Jerusalem and emptying the city. To the Jews, this seemed to be the end
of their people and perhaps even their special relationship with God.

The passage Ezekiel 37:1-13 is God’s way of telling his people that
despite the horrible situation that their sins got them into, He was still
faithful and he would raise up Jerusalem and his people, literally from
the ashes. He uses the imagery of dry bones being given flesh and living
again. Like God says at the end of the prophecy, “I will settle you in
your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have
done it, declares the Lord.” The encouraging thing about this passage is
that God was true to his word. In 538 BC, God used Cyrus to overthrow the
Babylonian Empire. Amazingly (by the providence of God) Cyrus allowed a
large number of the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Eventually, one of his successors provided money to rebuild the city and
its walls, in dramatic fulfillment of this amazing prophecy.

You ask what this passage applies to us. I say that it is very
practical. What God did for Israel, he will do for us. We too, like
Israel, at one time had destroyed our lives because of our sin. We too,
lived in a desolate land, and were in great need of God. God is willing
to put new flesh on our spiritual bones. God is able to spiritually raise
us from the dead. God will give us new life through the blood of Jesus
when we are baptized into Christ. The message of Ezekiel 37:1-13 is that
God will save us from the devastation we bring into our lives. I believe
that this passage is also a practical one for those who are already
saved. If we will turn to God, he will come in and give us new life. In
fact, Ezekiel 37:1-13 reminds me of Revelation 3:19,20; “Those whom I love
I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand
at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I
will go in and eat with him and he with me.”

John Oakes, PhD

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