Prophesying to Bones

“Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. […] So I prophesied as I was commanded’” (Ezekiel 37:4, 7a).

Ezekiel’s ministry was filled with all kinds of strange occurrences. His first vision was of four living creatures with strange heads, all surrounding the glorious throne of God. One of his first object lessons involved him being tied down and forced to lie on one side for a specific amount of days, eating bread cooked on cow dung. He had to dig through a wall carrying luggage at one point, and he was mute for an unspecified time.

By the time God brought him to the valley of the dry bones, he was used to God giving him strange instructions. So when God told him to prophesy to the bones, Ezekiel didn’t hesitate. He did as he was commanded: he prophesied to the bones, commanding flesh to come upon them and then breath to come into them.

When Ezekiel spoke the words God had commanded him, they came to pass. The bones came together to form skeletons, and then the muscles and the sinews and the skin covered the bones. Finally, breath came back into their lungs, and they rose up a mighty army.

This was just a vision and not something that actually came to pass. It was an object lesson for Israel, explaining how God could still use them though they were dead. But it was a real experience for Ezekiel. He had to trust God when he spoke to the bones. It likely didn’t make any sense; after all, what could possibly be done with a pile of old, dry bones? Nevertheless, Ezekiel did as he was commanded, and as a result he witnessed a mighty work of God. If he had dismissed the instructions as too strange to bother with, he would have missed this awesome moment.

God’s instructions don’t always make sense. But they don’t have to. When He tells us to do something, He expects us to do it, even if we don’t understand. He knows exactly what He’s doing, and the most impossible commands are the ones that will bring Him the most glory.

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