Week of Monday, April 24 – Sunday, April 30
Providing Hope – Man as Provider

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” - Ezekiel 37:11-14 ESV
When you lose hope, it is tough to recover. In Ezekiel 37, God’s people raised the white flag of surrender and said, “Our hope is lost.” They were exiles in a foreign land, objects of shame, scorn, and humiliation. Gone was the city of David. Gone were the city walls. Gone was the temple, the place of God's presence. All of it was gone! No wonder they said, “Our hope is lost.”
God gave Ezekiel an unforgettable vision in order to illustrate Israel’s impossible situation and His amazing solution. He showed Ezekiel a vast valley, littered with sun-bleached, dried-out bones as far as the eye could see in every direction. A fallen army of skeletons. Maybe a skull in a helmet over here, a bony hand clutching a rusty sword over there. These bones were dried out, meaning they had been there awhile. No doubt picked clean by scavengers and bleached white in the scorching sun.
As Ezekiel surveyed what appeared to be a hopeless and impossible situation, God asked him, “Can these bones live?” (v. 3). Ezekiel's reply was essentially, “God, only you could know the answer to that one.” Ezekiel had no hope in the dry bones, but he did have hope in his God. Then God told Ezekiel to preach to the bones (v. 4). So, he did, and the result was nothing short of miraculous. While Ezekiel was preaching, skeletons were fitted together, bone to bone, then sinew and tendons, and finally, these reconstituted skeletons were clothed with flesh (vv. 7-8).
But there was one problem: they were still dead. They looked a lot more alive than when they were just dry bones scattered around in the desert sand, but there was no life in them (v. 8b). So, God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the ruah (Hebrew for wind, breath, mind, or spirit; v. 9). Ezekiel did as he was commanded, and God breathed into them the breath of life, much like He did in Genesis with Adam, but with one difference. This was a “re-vival,” a “resurrection.” They were alive once, then they died, and now they were alive again. So, a great army now stood shoulder to shoulder in the place of scattered skeletons.
Then God gave Ezekiel the interpretation and essentially said, “You’ve just seen a picture of my people, hopeless, as good as dead.” But God told them (v. 12-14) that He himself would raise them up, as it were, from the dead, that He would bring them back to the land and put His Spirit within them. And that would renew their hope.
This passage has application for us when we have lost hope. As Providers, we need to realize as Ezekiel and the Jewish captives did that nothing is impossible for God! With God, there is always hope!
Indeed, God has placed us in a world that desperately needs the hope that only God can give! The curse of sin has sown heartache and chaos throughout the land, but even these dry bones can live! We can’t fix this problem; only the God of heaven can breathe the breath of life back into the hearts who will hear and trust the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ! By the same Spirit of God, men can be reborn, grow into spiritual maturity, and lead their homes in the godly manner God has designed for them. When our hope is renewed, so is our faith in God, who declared in verse 14: “Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
- Can you remember a time when you lost hope and God renewed your hope? Have you told your family and friends about it?
- Are you intentional in planning and providing a regular time of devotion and study of the Bible in your home? Paul says in Romans 15:4 “through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Visit frc.org/Bible and start leading your family through our Bible Reading Plan so they can meet the “God of hope” (Rom. 15:13) in the Scriptures.
- Ask God to give you opportunities to provide your family and friends with a perspective of hope in God when you are going through challenging times. Ask God to show them how there is nothing impossible for Him!