It was the darkest period in Judah’s history. Seventy years of Babylonian captivity stripped them of every semblance of strength and hope. Broken families, severed ties, and separation from their Promised Land seemed a punishment too great to bear, Cain’s curse seven times over.
Ezekiel, a young priest caught in exile’s tide, saw firsthand the damage incurred by Judah’s own idolatry. Rejected warnings by other prophets were now a stark reality, exposing the lies of all the other leaders who had promised future prosperity. And now, God had called him to stand in the gap, a siren to His people.
The book of Ezekiel unfolds with a dramatic scene of God’s glory. Ezekiel is addressed by God as “Son of man,” an indicator of his frailty in light of God’s magnificent supremacy and power. It is here in God’s presence that Ezekiel accepts his position as prophet to God’s people as he literally eats the scroll of words God has prepared to deliver to His people.
Though the dominant theme of judgment marks most of the impending chapters, like the prophets who preceded him, Ezekiel also casts visions of hope. Perceiving a valley filled with innumerable dry and disjointed bones, his dream opens with the death his hearers know all too well. But as Ezekiel obeys the Spirit and preaches to the bones, a miracle occurs. Rattling first and then joining end to end, the bones reconstruct into an army of people, lifeless before the Lord. Then God breathes and life fills—God had given new life to His people!
Ezekiel understood—and hoped God’s people would, too. No one on earth is too far gone, too separated from God to receive His Spirit of life. Just as He breathed hope into dry, brittle bones, God continues to breathe His life into His chosen people, restoring souls and starting new life inside. Ezekiel’s message spoke hope to the Hebrews and all God’s people afterward. With God, hope is not a crushed dream. It is an awesome reality for all who seek security in the only One who can save.