This is perhaps the most often referenced passage of scripture from Ezekiel’s prophetic book, the resurrection and resuscitation of “dry bones”. Undoubtedly refers to Judah and Israel, in a time that appeared hopeless and uncertain as to their future. In the midst of this malaise, the prophet brings a word of hope and encouragement.
Ezekiel’s response is certainly appropriate to the Lord’s query “can these bones live”, as he answers “O Lord GOD, You know”. His is not a response based on unbelief or doubt, rather one of confidence and trust in the “word of the Lord”. There’s a sense of expectancy within the prophet, which could be likened to “wait till you see this”.
Read closely and you’ll discover that Ezekiel never prophesied for the bones come “together”, He declares the “word of the Lord” to the bones to “hear” that the Lord would cause His “ruach”/”breath” to enter them again, providing strength, covering and life to the once lifeless, hopeless scattered bones. These bones not only “heard” the word, but they “responded” to the word by coming together, bone to bone. NOTE, God always blesses unity with His Spirit’s presence. They responded with unity and God filled them with His ruach.
Concerning Judah and Israel, there would and will yet be a returning to the lifeless, hopeless condition in the land; which will be empowered and filled with the Ruach/Spirit of God.
Concerning our present day, when we choose to unite in response to the word of the Lord (one faith, baptism, et al, Eph. 4:5), He will fill us with His Ruach/Spirit to be a force for righteousness and good.
This next prophetic act by Ezekiel was a major stretch for many of that day I am sure. He takes two sticks, each representing God’s chosen people; a stick of Ephraim/Judah (10 tribes) and the other stick Israel (2 tribes). He then ties them together, which speaks prophetically that they would no longer be recognized as being 2 houses of the same kindred, but as ONE nation. To accomplish that feat, there would be a significant and strategic ingathering of people around the world to return to Israel. We see that occurring in our present day, commencing in 1948, continuing to this very day.
What we have yet to see is the surrender to “My servant David”, i.e. Jesus the Messiah, to be their “prince forever”. It is at that time when the “covenant of peace”, “an everlasting covenant” will be established with the new nation. This is but another reason why evangelization amongst the Jews is essential, as true lasting peace will not be contrived politically and surrendering portions of the land for the sake of political expediency will not resolve the conflict in Jerusalem specifically and Israel generally.
This will go against the grain of some, yet it is my feeling that the Lord is more concerned about every heart being a place for His “sanctuary”, than about a piece of geography. Until He is Lord of “hearts”, geography matters little.
Throughout this chapter the major theme is that of UNITY; as those who have place their trust and faith in the Seed of Abraham (Jew and Gentile alike), we too must come together in unity. One of the crucial areas that unity must come into reality is between believing Jew and believing Gentile. Then the Lord’s Prayer in John 17 will be answered as we truly become “one”.
Another practical application deals with racism; God desires ALL of His children to come together in UNITY regardless of race or ethnicity. Certainly there are challenges, yet will hear the “Word of the Lord” as the dry bones? Will we be willing to be tied together, instead of being independent pieces, become ONE stick?
How does it begin? With one connecting with another, living out in observable functioning of unity; then modeling it before those who want to, but don’t know how.
May we be ONE!