Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones


Reading: Ezekiel 37-36

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord…

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.”

These are some of the words to a Negro Spiritual written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938). He used it to teach children basic anatomy (though some of the anatomical descriptions aren’t quite right). The song was based on the first 14 verses of Ezekiel 37.

God spirits Ezekiel away to a valley where the Almighty shows his prophet a pile of dead bones. He tells Ezekiel to announce to the bones that God is going to bring them back to life, to reattach the tendons, to join the bones, to put flesh on them, and to breath life into them once again. As Ezekiel speaks the words of the first prophecy, the bones in the valley come together with a great rattling sound. But it is not until the second prophecy, when God calls on the four winds to come and breathe life into the bones, that they become alive again.

Of course the picture is that of God’s people and was meant to be a vivid visual of what was to come for Israel. Even the living among the nation felt dead, dried up and without life, just like that valley of bones. But God was promising that things were going to change. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:12-14, NIV).

When Paul writes the following words in Ephesians 2:1,5 he was describing “dem bones” in relation to our salvation today: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

The dead can’t do a thing for themselves.

But God…

When I wake up each morning do my spiritual “bones” shout for joy that they move, not by my will but by the will of the One who one day, fifty years ago, breathed His Spirit into me? They should, they certainly should.

When I go to bed at night do my spiritual “bones” thank God for having given me another day to walk along the path He has chosen for me? They should, they certainly should.

And, in between the morning and the night, do my spiritual “bones” remember that without Him, they were nothing but a dead, dry heap? They should, they certainly should.

Do they remember that each breath is a holy one? They should, they certainly should.

Dem bones, dem bones, dey ain’t dry no mor’
And that’s the Word of the Lord.

Comments

  1. Great truths, here, Lynda! "Each breath is a holy one" I love that. :)

    ReplyDelete

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