Ezekiel 37 - Dry Bones and the Restoration of Hope
The book of Ezekiel is a prophetic book
filled with visions, symbols, and messages from God. In
Ezekiel 37, we encounter one of the most famous visions, where
God reveals to Ezekiel a scene of dry bones coming to life.
This vision serves as a powerful metaphor for God's ability to
restore hope and life to seemingly hopeless situations. To
fully understand the significance of this passage, we'll delve
into the historical background of Ezekiel's ministry, explore
the symbolism of the vision, and examine supporting Scriptures
that highlight the theme of restoration and hope.
Ezekiel was a prophet and priest who
lived during a tumultuous period in Israel's history. He was
among the first group of exiles taken to Babylon by King
Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of Jerusalem in 597 BC. The
people of Israel were in a state of despair, feeling abandoned
by God due to their disobedience and the destruction of the
temple. It's in this context that God called Ezekiel to
prophesy to the exiles, delivering messages of both judgment
and hope. As with all the prophets, the actual lived
experience of the prophet is in fact prophetic.
The Vision of Dry Bones (Ezekiel
In this vision, God transports Ezekiel
to a valley filled with dry bones, representing the
lifelessness and hopelessness of the Israelites in exile.
Let's break down the elements of the vision:
of Dry Bones: The bones are a symbol of the exiled Israelites
who have lost hope and feel spiritually dead.
Question to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:3): God asks Ezekiel if these
bones can live, emphasizing the seemingly impossible nature of
the situation. This question challenges Ezekiel's faith and
underscores the sovereignty and power of God.
Prophetic Action (Ezekiel 37:4-6): God instructs Ezekiel to
prophesy over the bones, declaring God's promise of
restoration and life. As Ezekiel obeys, the bones begin to
come together, tendons and flesh cover them, and breath enters
Explanation of the Vision (Ezekiel 37:11-14): God interprets
the vision, explaining that the bones represent the exiled
Israelites who feel spiritually and nationally dead. God
promises to open their graves, bring them back to the land of
Israel, and restore them spiritually. This restoration
symbolizes the revival of hope and a renewed relationship with
Psalm 126:4-6: "Restore our fortunes,
Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will
reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying
seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves
with them." This passage parallels Ezekiel's message of
restoration and shows that God can turn mourning into joy.
Isaiah 43:18-19: "Forget the former
things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" These verses
remind us that God's power to bring about newness and
restoration is not limited by our past failures or
Romans 8:11: "And if the Spirit of him
who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised
Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies
because of his Spirit who lives in you." This New Testament
passage echoes the theme of resurrection and restoration found
in Ezekiel's vision.
What is the symbolic application of the
phrase in Ezekiel 37 - "Our bones are dried up and our hope
The phrase "Our bones are dried up and
our hope has perished" from Ezekiel 37:11 carries significant
symbolic meaning within the context of the chapter and in
relation to our own lives. The life is carried in the blood,
and blood is made in the bones. Therefore, the very idea of
bones is symbolic of the total function of the person. This
phrase captures the deep sense of despair, hopelessness, and
spiritual desolation experienced by the exiled Israelites.
Symbolically, it reflects the human condition when we feel cut
off from God, when our circumstances seem impossible, and when
we have lost all hope.
Let's explore the symbolic application
of this phrase:
Deadness: The phrase "our bones are dried up" reflects
spiritual deadness and separation from God. Just as dry bones
lack life and vitality, we can find ourselves spiritually dry
and disconnected from God when we allow sin, disobedience, or
life's challenges to distance us from Him.
Hope: "Our hope has perished" speaks to the loss of hope in
the face of overwhelming circumstances. When we encounter
trials, suffering, or disappointments, it's easy to feel as
though our hope has vanished. This loss of hope can lead to
despair and a sense of being trapped in a cycle of
and Desperation: The imagery of dry bones evokes a sense of
brokenness and desperation. It symbolizes our broken state
when we are unable to fix or restore our own lives. In times
of brokenness, we may feel helpless and unable to mend the
Inability and God's Sovereignty: The phrase highlights the
contrast between human frailty and God's sovereignty. In our
own strength, we are powerless to bring about restoration and
hope. However, the vision of the dry bones coming to life
emphasizes that God's power can transform even the most
lifeless and hopeless situations.
Divine Intervention: This phrase serves as a cry for divine
intervention. When we recognize our own spiritual dryness and
the loss of hope, we are positioned to seek God's help and
guidance. It's a call for God to step in and breathe life into
our circumstances, just as He did with the dry bones.
Restoration: While the phrase initially conveys hopelessness,
it also points us toward the possibility of restoration. The
very act of acknowledging our spiritual dryness and lost hope
can lead us to seek God's restoration and renewal in our
Don’t these factors in this list remind
you of COVID?
In our lives today, we can relate to
the symbolic application of this phrase when we face
challenges, setbacks, and moments of spiritual desolation.
Just as God's promise in Ezekiel 37 was to bring life to the
dry bones, we are reminded that God can bring renewal, hope,
and restoration to our brokenness and despair. This phrase
encourages us to turn to God in our moments of hopelessness,
trusting in His power to bring about transformation and
renewal in our lives. It also serves as a reminder that our
hope is ultimately anchored in God's faithfulness and
redemptive work, vis a vis, Christ at Calvary.
But when the foundations are crumbling,
what do the righteous do? Here’s an idea for you:
“Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by
Peter Scazzero provides a framework for developing a mature
and healthy spirituality that encompasses emotional well-being
and deep connection with God. Let's relate the principles from
this book to the themes found in Ezekiel 37:
1. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and
Ezekiel 37 illustrates the journey from
spiritual dryness to restoration. The valley of dry bones
represents emotional and spiritual deadness. Just as Scazzero
emphasizes the importance of connecting with our emotions and
practicing contemplative spirituality, the vision in Ezekiel
encourages us to engage with our emotional and spiritual state
honestly before God. The process of prophesying over the dry
bones can be seen as a contemplative practice of acknowledging
our brokenness and seeking God's restoration.
2. Incarnational Spirituality:
Ezekiel's prophetic actions in the
vision demonstrate a form of incarnational spirituality. He
physically engaged with the dry bones, representing God's
involvement in our brokenness. This resonates with Scazzero's
call to embody our spirituality and engage with life fully,
rather than compartmentalizing our faith and emotions.
3. Practicing Sabbath Delight:
The message of restoration in Ezekiel
37 echoes the idea of finding delight in God's restoration.
The restoration of hope and life is a cause for celebration,
much like the concept of practicing Sabbath delight in the
midst of life's challenges, as advocated by Scazzero.
4. Honoring the Body: - The Body is not
a minor prophet
The vision of the dry bones can
symbolize the emotional and spiritual toll that neglecting our
emotional health can take on our bodies. Scazzero's principle
of honoring the body reminds us that our spiritual and
emotional well-being are interconnected, and addressing one
impacts the other.
5. Process of Emotionally Healthy
Ezekiel's journey from a valley of dry
bones to a restored and living community aligns with the
process of emotional health that Scazzero outlines. The vision
illustrates that genuine emotional and spiritual
transformation involves acknowledging brokenness, embracing
God's work of restoration, and moving toward wholeness.
6. Perfection vs. Emotional Health:
The phrase "Our bones are dried up and
our hope has perished" reflects a sense of despair resulting
from trying to maintain a facade of perfection. Scazzero's
axiom of letting go of false ideals and embracing emotional
health is mirrored in the vision, where God restores hope by
addressing the reality of the situation rather than pretending
everything is fine.
7. Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief and
The emotional depth of the phrase "Our
bones are dried up" captures the weight of grief and loss. The
vision of restoration reminds us that God is present even in
times of loss, and healing and enlargement of the soul can
emerge from addressing and processing grief.
8. Discover the Rhythms of the Daily
Office and Sabbath:
Ezekiel's prophetic engagement with the
dry bones and his obedience in speaking life align with the
idea of engaging in daily spiritual practices. Just as the dry
bones came to life through prophetic declaration, our
spirituality can be nurtured through consistent rhythms of
9. Grow into an Emotionally Mature
The entire process in Ezekiel 37—from
acknowledging spiritual dryness to experiencing
restoration—reflects the journey toward emotional maturity and
spiritual growth. Scazzero's principle of becoming an
emotionally mature adult is embodied in the transformation
seen in the vision.
10. Develop a Rule of Life:
The vision of restoration in Ezekiel 37
can be seen as a foundational aspect of developing a "rule of
life." It emphasizes the importance of aligning our lives with
God's transformative work, integrating our emotional,
spiritual, and physical dimensions into a holistic rule of
In summary, the themes in Ezekiel 37
resonate with the principles of emotionally healthy
spirituality outlined by Peter Scazzero. The journey from dry
bones to restored life reflects the process of embracing
emotional well-being, cultivating a mature spirituality, and
integrating our faith with all aspects of our lives.
Peter Scazzero's quote, "Jesus may be
in your heart, but Grandpa is in your bones," highlights the
idea that our family history, experiences, and generational
patterns can deeply influence our behavior and emotions. This
quote can be connected to Ezekiel 37 in a way that emphasizes
the transformation and renewal that God brings to our deepest
places, even those influenced by our family and past.
1. Generational Influence:
Ezekiel 37:1-14 portrays a vision of
dry bones coming to life. These bones represent not only the
spiritual and emotional state of the people of Israel but also
the generational history and legacy they carried. The
Israelites' spiritual dryness and hopelessness were influenced
by their past actions and the consequences of their ancestors'
choices. Similarly, Scazzero's quote acknowledges that our
family history and generational influences can shape our
emotional responses and attitudes.
2. Transformation and Restoration:
The vision of the dry bones being
brought back to life parallels the concept of transformation
and restoration in Scazzero's quote. Just as God restored hope
to the Israelites through the renewal of their bones, He can
also transform our ingrained patterns, behaviors, and emotions
that have been influenced by generational baggage. This
restoration goes beyond surface-level change; it reaches deep
into the core of who we are, even down to our "bones."
3. God's Redemptive Work:
Ezekiel's prophetic actions in the
vision emphasize God's ability to address the deep-rooted
issues of the people. Similarly, Scazzero's quote reminds us
that even though we have Jesus in our hearts, we may still
carry unresolved emotional and generational wounds. However,
God's transformative work, depicted in Ezekiel 37, shows that
He can penetrate those deeply ingrained areas and bring
healing, restoration, and renewal.
4. Integrating Faith and Emotional
Both Ezekiel 37 and Scazzero's quote
emphasize the integration of faith and emotional health. The
vision illustrates that our emotional and spiritual states are
interconnected, and God's transformative work involves
restoring both. Scazzero's quote encourages us to recognize
that our emotional health has roots in our family history, and
addressing these roots can lead to greater emotional and
5. Moving from Despair to Hope:
The phrase "Our bones are dried up and
our hope has perished" from Ezekiel 37 reflects the depth of
despair experienced by the Israelites. Similarly, Scazzero's
quote acknowledges that our generational baggage and emotional
wounds can lead to patterns of despair. However, the vision's
message of restoration and Scazzero's emphasis on emotional
health both point toward the possibility of moving from
despair to hope through God's redemptive work.
In conclusion, connecting Ezekiel 37 to
Peter Scazzero's quote "Jesus may be in your heart, but
Grandpa is in your bones" underscores the transformative and
renewing power of God. Both the vision of the dry bones and
the quote emphasize that God's work of restoration goes deep
into our generational patterns, emotions, and behaviors.
Through His redemptive work, God can bring healing, renewal,
and transformation to even the most deeply ingrained aspects
of our lives, allowing us to move from a state of spiritual
and emotional dryness to a place of hope, healing, and
wholeness (aka, Holiness)
Ezekiel 37 is a powerful reminder that
God is able to bring life and hope to even the most hopeless
situations. Just as God breathed life into the dry bones, He
can breathe new life into our brokenness, despair, and
spiritual deadness. The vision teaches us to trust in God's
power to restore, renew, and bring about transformation in our
lives. As we meditate upon this passage, may we find comfort
in the promise of God's restoration and allow it to inspire us
to cling to hope, even in the midst of challenging