I have a childhood memory of a song we sang which was intriguing, but we had no idea about it’s meaning. The words, as I remember them, were, “Head bone connected to the neck bone; the neck bone connected to the shoulder bone; the shoulder bone connected to the back bone; the back bone connected to the thigh bone . . .” It went on and on and finally got to the toe bone and then there was this refrain, “Now hear the word of the Lord.” As kids, we sang it and laughed as we enjoyed it, but had no idea what this song about bones had to do with “now hear the word of the Lord.”
The background of the song is that time when the Jews were taken as captive to Babylon. They had forsaken God and He brought Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the holy city, tear down the glorious temple Solomon had built and bring an end to the presence of God’s chosen people in the promised land. As captives they had lost all hope of ever returning to Jerusalem and restoring the relation to God they once had. They were saying, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off” (Eze. 37:11). God had raised up Ezekiel as His prophet and, through him, delivered a promise of their restoration.
In a vision, God brought Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones. In the midst of the bones Ezekiel described as very dry, God asked him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” The Lord then told Ezekiel to say, “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” When Ezekiel finished his message, “There was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.” As he watched, the bones not only came together, but flesh covered them and God’s breath caused them to come alive.
Israel was wrong. The condition of the nation looked hopeless if one forgot the promises of God. Before they were taken captive God had told them what was about to happen and even told them precisely the number of years they would be in that distant land. They were looking at life without faith, and the future is often so bleak. However, the promises of God are far greater than life’s circumstances.
So the next time your life apparently is hopeless, read Ezekiel chapter 37. Stand in the midst of your own valley of very dry bones. Then look away from those bones and look toward the promises of One who cannot lie. In your imagination watch the head bone connect to the neck bone, and the neck bone connect to the shoulder bone . . . Then hear the word of the Lord! “All things work together for good. . . “