STAND UP like a MIGHTY ARMY of GOD: The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."…So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezek 37:1-3, 10)
In Ezekiel’s vision, God’s Spirit deposited him in the midst of a valley in which he saw very dry bones of Israel (vv. 1-2). He was ordered to prophesy to those bones so that they would come to life (vv. 4-6). The first time he prophesied, sinews, flesh and skin came upon the bones (vv. 7-8). The next time he prophesied to the wind and the breath came into the bodies (vv. 9-10). This pictured the national restoration of Israel (vv. 11–14), first the restoration of a people spiritually dead, and then their regeneration.
The dry bones symbolized the whole house of Israel, who were identified as dry or spiritually dead (vv. 2–5); as dejected, with no apparent hope of being “resurrected” as the people of the living God; and as dispersed before being rejoined and rebuilt (vv. 6–10). The major thrust of this passage is the coming spiritual rebirth of God’s chosen people through the Spirit of God (vv. 15–28; 36:22–32). This spiritual rebirth would miraculously revive and restore human beings to what God had intended them to be in the beginning.
Through this vision, we can notice a parallel in our own regeneration as well where the Word of God should first revive us and then the Holy Spirit regenerates us. The Bible scholar Yates makes an application for our own need of the Holy Spirit today:
“With weirdness, realism and dramatic force the prophet (Ezekiel) presents the heartening news that Israel may hope to live. A revival is possible! Even dry bones, without sinew and flesh and blood, can live. The coming of God’s Spirit brings life. The same thrilling truth is still needed in a world that has dry bones everywhere. What we need is to have the Holy Spirit come with His quickening power that a genuine revival may sweep the earth.”
We should note that the breath of God was breathed into man at creation (Gen. 2:7), into the Word when it was written (2 Tim. 3:16), and upon the disciples to empower them for ministry (John 20:22). It will one day sweep over God’s chosen people and make them a new nation. Meanwhile, God longs to send the “wind of revival” to His church; and He will, if we honor His Word, pray, and depend on the Spirit of God.
Let us desire to stand up like a mighty army of God, even today!