and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones
on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry...
(Ezekiel 37:1-2, NIV)
Have you ever had a dream die out? A ministry vision that faded away? Felt like today and tomorrow are barren landscapes with no hope or promise of relief? That must have been how the prophet Ezekiel felt, when he received a vision from God, of a valley filled with dry bones.
He and his people, the Nation of Israel, were facing conditions of utter despair. It was a dark and dismal time in Jewish history. In 597 BC they had seen many of their people killed and their land desolated. Exiled as slaves to Babylon, they were suffering under the cruel King Nebuchadnezzar. A broken and lost people, they had crossed over into a place of spiritual death, and all hope was dying out for them.
God gives Ezekiel a vision of hope for the nation of Israel. The first thing Ezekiel informs us is he is not alone. When you are facing desperate times and feeling lost and broken, you want to know you are not in this alone. There is someone standing next to you. “The hand of the Lord was upon me...” The “hand of the Lord” is a biblical term for God’s power and presence in the lives of His people. More specifically, His Spirit with them. When the hand of the Lord is upon you, God’s Holy Spirit is with you.
Like a loving parent's hand upon a child, I find the hand of the Lord upon me reminding me of his love for me. He puts his hand upon me so I don’t run off in the wrong direction. His hand has caught me many times when I stumbled and fell. But the mighty hand of the Lord upon me most often strengthens my soul and lifts my spirit, especially when I find myself standing knee deep in dry bones. His hand reminds me he has the power to do the impossible. To bring hope from despair and life out of death. God tells Ezekiel to “preach to the bones” (v4) “and the bones came together” (v7) ...they came to life and stood up on their feet.” (v10).
Prayer: God of life and love, may your hand ever be upon us so that our parched and barren souls may be revived by your quickening Spirit. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
In His Word,
Reverend Dee Dee