The children of Israel found themselves defeated, captured, and exiled to the foreign land of Babylon. Many in the nation had turned from God, and for their disobedience, God had allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat them. Among the exiles was a prophet named Ezekiel, who had told the people that the downfall was coming, but the people did not listen. They could not hear because they were spiritually dead.
Even in exile, Ezekiel continued to receive visions from God. In one of his visions, God showed him a valley full of dry bones. God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel responded that only God knew if the bones could live. Then, God told Ezekiel to speak to the bones. God wanted Ezekiel to tell the bones that they would once again live. So, Ezekiel started to speak to the bones.
As Ezekiel spoke, the bones started to rattle. They connected to one another. After the bones connected, muscle covered the bones. Next, skin covered the bones. Whole bodies were before Ezekiel, but the bodies had no breath. They still laid dead before him. Then, God told Ezekiel to speak to the wind that the bodies may have breath. Ezekiel called for the wind, and the bodies filled with life. As they came to life, they stood like a vast army. God told Ezekiel that these were the children of Israel.
The children of Israel felt hopeless after defeat; however, they would not remain defeated. God wanted to restore them. So, through Ezekiel’s vision, God relayed that hope existed on the other side of the challenge that they were facing. God wanted them to live for Him again, but they needed His spirit to live as they should. Not only would God restore them spiritually, but He would return them to their home. When they were released to return home, they would know it was God who did it for them.
Source: Ezekiel 33; 37:1-14
- How does it feel when you are trying to tell someone something important, but they do not listen to you? Why do you feel this way?
- Have you ever had someone tell you that something bad was going to happen, but you didn’t listen? How did you feel after the bad thing happened?
- Why do you think people refuse to listen to God?
- Even though God punished the people for disobedience, He wanted them to have hope. How does it make you feel knowing that God wants people to have hope after they have fallen? What does it say to you about God?
- Have you ever tried to give someone hope after something bad has happened to them? Share an example.
- In the vision, God gives Ezekiel the power to speak to the dry bones. Besides the children of Israel at that time, what type of people do dry bones represent today?
- Do you believe we have the power to speak to dry bones today?
- In this story, the people did not come to life until after Ezekiel called for the wind. When he called for the wind, it filled the people with life. What did the wind represent? What is another bible story that reminds us of air/wind giving life?
- Can we live for God without His spirit? Why or why not?
- After a bad situation has passed in your life, how do you know it was God that helped you through? Share an example.
What scriptures are key to this story?
- Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. John 8:47 ESV
- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 ESV
- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
- You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave all our sins. Colossians 2:13 ERV
- We can choose to be spiritually dead or alive.
- Even after a fall, hope exists.
- To live for God, we need His spirit.
- When God chooses you to speak life into other people’s lives, don’t doubt. Just speak!
Father God, thank you for speaking life into us so that we can live in you. Now, we ask that you strengthen us. Give us the courage to speak life, hope to others. Tell us what to say and how to say it, so they will embrace the message from You. Allow us to see how you change their lives, so we can testify of that hope to others. We ask this in your son Jesus’s name. Amen.
Do you know someone who thinks life is hopeless? Speak hope in their life by telling them about God and what He has done in your life and other people’s lives.
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Bible Study Printable –> Can They Live?