Ezekiel 37:11
Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look, they are saying, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.'
Sermons
The Cry of the HopelessW. Clarkson Ezekiel 37:11
From Death to LifeW. Clarkson Ezekiel 37:1-12
A Moral ResurrectionJ. Gill.Ezekiel 37:1-14
Can These Bones LiveT. P. Forsyth, D. D.Ezekiel 37:1-14
Ezekiel's VisionR. Watson.Ezekiel 37:1-14
Faith Refers All Possibility to GodC. G. Macgregor.Ezekiel 37:1-14
Lessons from the Valley of VisionT. D. Anderson, B. A.Ezekiel 37:1-14
The Restoration and Conversion of the JewsEzekiel 37:1-14
The Valley of Dry BonesSermons by the Monday ClubEzekiel 37:1-14
The Valley of Dry Bones and the True PreacherHomilistEzekiel 37:1-14
The Valley of the DeadG. S. Barrett, B. A.Ezekiel 37:1-14
The Vision of a True RevivalUrijah R. Thomas.Ezekiel 37:1-14
The Vision of Dry BonesD. Moore, M. A.Ezekiel 37:1-14
The Vision of Dry BonesJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 37:1-14
The Vision of the Dry BonesCanon Liddon.Ezekiel 37:1-14
Despair Denounced and Grace GlorifiedEzekiel 37:11-13
Soul ResurrectionHomilistEzekiel 37:11-13
The Divine RestorerJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 37:11-14


The interpretation of the vision of the valley of dry bones was given by the prophet himself. It was intended that the Israelites, when restored to their own land and to national unity and vigor, should discern in this restoration the hand of Divine Providence. A most unlikely event was about to happen, and Ezekiel desired that those in whose favor the great interposition was about to be wrought should be mindful, both of the condition of hopelessness into which they had been plunged by their own sins, and of the marvel of the Divine mercy to which they owed their deliverance, renewal, and revival.

I. THE DEATH AND DESPONDENCY OF THE CAPTIVITY. The Jewish people had endured many afflictions and chastisements; but the Captivity was the sorest disaster which had overtaken them, the profoundest humiliation into which they had been plunged. To so earnest a patriot as Ezekiel the case seemed, apart from Divine commiseration and help, one utterly depressing to contemplate. Human deliverer there was not; way of deliverance opened not up; the prospect was dark. The whole house of Israel, contemplating the situation, summed it up in the mournful exclamation, "Our hope is lost; we are clean cut off."

II. THE COMPASSIONATE INTERPOSITION OF THE DIVINE DELIVERER. When human help there was none, the Lord looked in pity upon his own. "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people." Their state was as that of those dead and buried out of men's sight. But with God nothing is impossible. His voice can summon even the dead to life. The hearts of kings and rulers are in his hands. He deviseth means whereby his banished ones may return.

III. THE SPIRITUAL ENERGY CONDITIONING THE RECOVERY AND RENEWAL. Providential intervention is not all that is necessary. An internal as well as an external condition is requisite. No great work on behalf of a nation can, any more than a great work on behalf of an individual, be effected apart from the state, the character, the purposes, the voluntary cooperation of those who are to be benefited. We have an intimation of this in the present case in the promise, "I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live." To put a people in their own territory would be of no avail to the national life were not the people gifted with a spirit of patriotism, of unity, of hopefulness, above all, of true religion. A restoration such as that effected for Israel, in order to be a real thing, must be accompanied by the new heart, the new national endeavor and patience, the new devotedness to the higher aims of social and political existence. God, who gives the boon, gives also the preparation by which the boon may be appropriated and used.

IV. THE RESTORATION ITSELF. This was mainly, at all events in the general apprehension, a political movement. The capital was reoccupied, the temple services were restored in something like their former dignity and beauty; the reputation of the nation was in some measure retrieved. But beyond all this, in the apprehension of the more thoughtful there was a religious reformation of greater interest and importance. The life from the dead was life unto Jehovah and unto his laws and ordinances - a life not ceremonial, but spiritual. Idolatry, at all events, was forever abandoned; many of the temptations of former times were for ever outgrown. Some good was thus effected, and good of such a nature as to confer a real service and blessing upon mankind.

V. THE GIVING OF GLORY TO WHOM IT WAS DUE. In two respects especially the Lord assured the Israelites, by his prophets, honor should accrue to himself through the return of his chosen people.

1. His power should be recognized as the true cause of the redemption.

2. His faithfulness should be adored by those to whom the promise had been given, and by whom the fulfillment of the promise was enjoyed. - T.







Therefore prophesy and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God; behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
I. A TRUE WORD: "They say, our bones are dried."

1. Observe, first, that they describe themselves as dead, as dried, and as divided. These people spoke of their bones, and therefore conceived of themselves as dead; and so the sinner may without, exaggeration conceive of himself as devoid of spiritual life. He knows not the life of God, for he is dead in trespasses and sins. They were divided too. These Israelites were scattered abroad in every place; and perhaps you, dear friend, feel that, as Hosea says, your heart is divided, and you are found wanting. Perhaps you go further with the figure, and seem to be dried, sapless, useless, hopeless. This is a very sad description of a man's soul, and yet how many of us have had to subscribe to it for ourselves. It is just what we felt ourselves to be while we were without God, and without hope; and yet the Spirit of God was convincing us of our guilt.

2. Further, these bones could by no means raise themselves. There was no trace of moisture left upon them; they could not give themselves life or motion; it were a fool's hope to look for Such a thing. Is that the dreary fact which forces itself upon you? Do not try to forget it. You are discovering the truth. In you there is no spiritual power to stir towards God until His Spirit moves towards you.

3. There seemed to be before these bones no prospect but the fire. Do you begin to feel in your own conscience the first burnings of the fire which never shall be quenched? Ah, whatever may be your gloomy apprehensions they are none too gloomy.

4. Moreover, these people felt that they were cut off from healing agencies. They say, "We are cut off for our parts"; that is, each bone is cut off from its fellow, and the whole thing is cut off as to its parts from every hope and comfort. Happy they who have been delivered from this wretched state; but I had almost said, happy they who are experiencing it, for those who feel their sinfulness are on the road to better things. Brother, I hope your extremity will be God's opportunity. When your bones are dried then will God come in as the resurrection and the life and make these dry bones live.

5. It seemed to these poor people as if they were quite given over, for when bones are cast out in the field and left to be bleached by the wind and the sun, when nobody gives them burial, but there they lie, the refuse of the charnel house, then they are according to all likelihood left for destruction. Apart from Christ, we are cast off: apart from Christ, God cannot look upon us except in anger: apart from the atoning blood our sins protest against the entrance of mercy, and there we lie self-condemned and helpless, abandoned in our own judgment to condemnation swift and sure.

II. HERE IS AN ILL WORD in the text: "Our hope is lost." It is a good thing if our false hopes are lost; but true hope is still to be had. They said of old in the Latin, Dum spiro spero, while I breathe I hope; and I turn the proverb over, and say, Dum spero spiro — while I hope I breathe. To render the sentences rather freely will suit me well: "While I live I hope, and while I hope I live." Despair, which is the mind's declaration that there is no hope, is not so much a sickness of the understanding as a sin of the soul. No man has a right to despair; no man can be right while he is despairing.

1. Despair is a high insult to God; it casts dishonour upon His chief attributes.(1) It is most derogatory to the truth of God. If a man says, "I cannot be saved," he contradicts the Divine voice, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved."(2) He that despairs insults God's power. He doth in effect tell the Lord that He pretends to a power which He does not possess.(3) But despair abundantly casts dishonour upon God's mercy. The Lord glories in His power to save, and He has plainly declared that He will save all those who confess their sins and put their trust in Him; and do we doubt Him?

2. Mark you, while it does this, which is bad enough, despair brings out the devil and Crowns him in Christ's stead. Despair says to Satan, "Thou art victorious over the mercy of God; thou hast conquered Christ Himself."

3. This heinous sin of despair tramples on the blood of Christ. Christ has died and shed His blood, and we know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. We have God's Word for it; yet here is a man who says, "It cannot cleanse me from my sin."

4. Despair has something in it of sinning against the Holy Ghost; for the Holy Spirit brings you rich cordials in the promises of God, which will raise your spirits and will restore you from death; and what do you do with them? You take them and dash them against the wall; as if this almighty medicine, devised by infinite wisdom, were the deceitful nostrum of a quack, and you could not receive it.

5. When a man gives way to despair, there comes upon him usually a habit of wrangling against God and His truth. Sometimes the despairing one gets into such a nasty, ugly temper against everything that comes to him from the Bible and from the ministers of God that you begin to think that he must be half mad. So perhaps he is, but it is not a madness that saves him from responsibility; it is a madness which will be laid to his charge in the great day of account, because it is self-inflicted and wilfully persisted in.

6. Worse than this, despair makes a man ready for any sin, for there are many that say, "I can never go to heaven, therefore I will take a good swing here, and get what pleasure I can while it is within reach."

7. Let me say further, despair degrades a man, degrades him below the brute beast; for brutes do not despair. You think worse of God than your dog thinks of you. Instead of crouching to His feet, as your poor dog does to you, to try and get a gracious word, you growl at the great Lord — "It is of no use for me to be humble: there is no hope."

8. Oh, this despair — avoid it, I pray you, as you would avoid death itself, for it will render all means of grace useless to you. If ye will not believe, neither shall ye be established.

9. Despair, too, is certainly vain and wicked, because it has no Scripture whatever to support it.

III. A GRACIOUS WORD.

1. God meets us upon our own ground, and takes us up where we are. They said, "We are as dried bones." "Yes," says God, "and I will quicken you"; but the Lord even goes beyond anything which they have felt or said, for they did not say they were buried. No, they were as bones scattered in the open valley, unburied; but the Lord knows they are worse than they think they are; and so He goes further in mercy than they thought they had gone in misery. He says, "I will open your graves," and that looks as if they were finally laid in the sepulchre; but the Lord adds, "and cause you to come up out of your graves." Oh, the mercy of the Lord! There is no bound to it.

2. Now, observe how the Word brings comfort by introducing another actor upon the scene. You are like a dried bone, good for nothing, and able for nothing; but the Lord comes in Himself, and He says, "I will, I will." Oh, that grand "I will"!

3. But recollect that God comforts us here by depicting the completeness of His working.

4. Lastly, notice the feeling which is produced by it. Ah, what a feeling a man has that there is a God when God has saved him; when he begins to dance for very joy of heart because he is fully forgiven, then he knows Jehovah is God; when his heart feels restful, and full of peace, when he can say, "God is mine, Christ is mine, heaven is mine," he does not need evidences of the existence of God, or arguments to prove the power of God. He carries a demonstration of the truth within his own heart, and tells of it to others with tearful eyes.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homilist.
I. SOUL RESURRECTION IS A MATTER OF INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. Man has no choice in the question of his bodily resurrection. He can do nothing towards hastening or delaying it, preventing or effecting it. Not so with the soul. Its moral condition is dependent upon itself. "Arise from the dead," is the voice of eternal justice as well as of redemptive mercy.

II. SOUL RESURRECTION IS A GOOD IN ITSELF. It is the prisoner leaving the dungeon and his chains, and going forth a pardoned and reformed man, in the full play of his freedom, to enjoy with a grateful heart the blessings of life, and to discharge with a right spirit the duties of his sphere. It is the diseased man, leaving the dark chamber of suffering, and going forth, with renovated health and invigorated frame, into the fields of nature, in the opening spring, to breathe that new breath from God that is quickening all nature into life.

III. SOUL RESURRECTION IS THE GRAND END OF ALL GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN. In every event of Providence, in every page of history, in every verse of the Bible, in every dictate of reason, in every throb of conscience, in every sorrow, and in every joy, His voice to the soul is this, "Arise from the dead": — Break through thy grave of carnalities, prejudices, corrupt habits, into the life of truth and love.

IV. SOUL RESURRECTION INVOLVES THE HIGHEST AGENCY OF GOD. The Divine power, which will be employed to call up at last the teeming myriads of the buried dead, is nothing in grandeur, compared with that Divine energy which will be put forth to wake the dead soul to life. In the former case, the mere fiat or volition will do it. God has only to will it and it is done. But far more than this is employed on His part to raise the soul. For this purpose He has to "bow the heavens and come down," assume our nature, and in that nature reason out to us the arguments of His almighty love.

V. SOUL RESURRECTION IS THE ONLY PLEDGE OF A GLORIOUS BODILY RESURRECTION.

(Homilist.)

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