God's promises for his future plans for his people came through various forms in the Old Testament. Few could possibly be more vivid and straight-forward as what's seen here in Ezekiel 37.
Ezekiel stands over a valley of the dead, carrion long picked clean, littered with the evidence of death. Every modern movie or TV show that has a scene like this usually elicits terror of some sort. A reminder that our hero has taken a wrong turn and ended up in a dangerous place or the villain has arrived home or about to bring more deathly life to death.
Yet amazingly enough, in Ezekiel, this valley will be a demonstration of the power and plan of our God. A reversal that upends the terror of death, a warning shot to hell that heaven is coming. Instead of hinting at an impending darkness, God declared his intentions for those he loves.
He will speak his Word over death and his children will come alive. He will breathe life into their souls. He will put his Spirit in his people. Whatever notion there is that Israel will save herself is tossed out the window. Any idea that the church will revive itself is impossible. God will do it.
And he did it. Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:14), come to put death to Death and breathe life to death. He embodied that which Ezekiel witnessed in the valley of death, the firstfruits of what would now become true for all who looked to him by faith.
It also became a reality that we can now experience in small ways every single day. For the same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave is the same Spirit that made these dry bones come to life. That same Spirit is also the one that is at work in the hearts of God's people, bringing the gospel to bear, gifting faith so vibrant and real to us that we are brought to spiritual life and know its fruits even today.
You were dead in your trespasses but have been made alive together in Christ, all by grace (Eph. 2:5). We see the world in color, no longer in black and white. It means not that things are perfect now nor that we will not mourn or suffer. But it means that we do not endure all these things like those who have no hope. But we know that in God, life can always be brought out of death. Things as they seem will not always be how they are. The cross tells us so. The dry bones tell us so.