The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord 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. He asked me,

“Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ ”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. (Ezekiel 37:1-7)

It’s never too late for God. Ezekiel, an exile himself, prophesied to the exiles living in Babylon. The people in exile felt empty, abandoned and hopeless. Despite the words of Jeremiah and Isaiah who had promised that they would return home one day, they still doubted, able to see no further than their current pain. So once again, God revealed the future. God granted Ezekiel a vision of a vast field, filled with bones, metaphorically standing for the exiled nation. Then God restored the bones to life, a vast army and told Ezekiel that they represented the Israelites who were saying that “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.” God intended to resurrect them. That is, he would bring them back home, to the land of Israel.

God doesn’t go back on his promises. But he makes allowance for human fear and weakness. He freely reassures us time and time again. Sometimes we may fear that God has abandoned us, that we’ve been too bad, gone too far from his will, that it is too late. God reassured the Israelites, even after hundreds of years of them having gone too far and after years of exile, that even then, it wasn’t too late. Even when we’re nothing but dried bones, God still has a plan for us and it’s a good one.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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