“And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:3-4)
The Valley of Dry Bones is an image which represents spiritual deadness. As the prophet Ezekiel first saw the image he interpreted it as the spiritual death of Judah, of all Israel. Israel and her people had become as useless, dead, defiled and unclean as these dry human bones. Their deadness merited God’s punishment which they were then enduring as exiles and slaves in Babylon. Nevertheless, the bones are restored to life by the word of God spoken by the Holy Spirit through the prophet.
The dead bones also represent the spiritual deadness of every human being, the deadness and decay brought about by sin. Each person is dead in his or her sins and yet the Lord comes and breathes new life into us by His Holy Spirit. Only the Lord God has the power to create spiritual life out of what is spiritually dead. This is accomplished by the good news of Jesus spoken through the prophets, apostles and the church by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
The Lord commanded Ezekiel to speak His words that accomplished the resurrection of those dead bones. And He commands us to do the same. We speak the truth of God’s word in Christ Jesus to those in our world who are spiritually dead, so that the Lord may raise them into His eternal life.