Connections 03.26.2023: Restoration

Ezekiel 37:1-14

As I grew up, skeletons always made me think of Halloween. Whether it was a homemade costume, flexible paper decorations hanging on school walls, or plastic bones sticking out of the yard next to fake headstones, skeletons symbolized our mocking of death on October 31, the day before we honored all the saints who had died that year.

I don’t often think about the fact that beneath my skin and muscle, I have a skeleton. It takes viewing dental X-rays to remind me that a skeleton isn’t a Halloween character but the actual structure that forms my body. Skeleton equals human being…or animal or any other number of creatures with bones.

What a visual God gives Ezekiel in today’s text! The prophet sees a valley filled not with plastic Halloween décor but with actual human bones—all that remains of what used to be living people. The Scripture doesn’t explain who these people were. Maybe they were a conquered army. Maybe a village in which everyone was killed by some tragedy. The point is that they are very dead, and then God brings them back to life.

Imagine seeing this with your own eyes. Dry, dead, inanimate bones join back together, forming skeletons. Then God covers them with sinew and muscle and skin and gives them breath, “and they lived and stood on their feet, a vast multitude” (v. 10).

What might seem a bit scary becomes instead a miraculous symbol for what God does in a person’s life: “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act” (v. 14). This vision for Ezekiel is a sign of God’s promise to restore the people of Israel. It’s also a sign of God’s promise to restore us. What is dead in our lives can be revived, just as our dead bodies will one day be revived to live with God forever.


• Do skeletons make you fearful or curious?
• How does envisioning the bones beneath your skin remind you of your mortality?
• What do you think Ezekiel felt when he saw the dry bones join back together and watched the sinew and skin wrap around them so that they were alive again?
• What do you think God’s promise in verses 11-14 meant to Ezekiel? What does it mean to you?
• What in your life is like those dry bones, and how might God revive it?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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