The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 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. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.Ezekiel 37 1-10 – (ESV).
This is one of the more bizarre passages in the Bible, but one that seems especially relevant to me on this Sunday morning. Today is the day that most Christians will head to their local church and listen to the preaching of the Word. Preaching, once the center of most church services, has been relegated to a subservient role in many, and this is sad, for the preaching of the Word, when done in the way God commands, carries with it His power. What could be more important than listening to the very words of God?
In a vision Ezekiel is confronted with death and decay. Before him lies a barren valley, filled with dry, dead bones. God commands the prophet to speaks to these bones, and in obedience Ezekiel obeys God and preaches to them. As he does so, God brings life to the bones! The bones first came together, then began to be covered with tendons and flesh and skin. And finally he prophesied again and breath entered the bodies so that the dead were brought to life.
So what is the point of this passage? It tells us that preaching the Word of God brings life! The Spirit of God travelled through the medium of speech and accomplished His will through the spoken word. And so He works today. Through the preaching of the Word God brings the dead to life. But the message is not just for those who are dead, for it also brings refreshment to the soul that believes, but is weary. It teaches, it builds faith and it restores confidence. So as you go to church this morning, be ready to hear the very words of God and expect to be blessed by them.