All my life I've heard that old hymn or spiritual about Ezekiel, and how "them dry bones" came together and made a whole skeleton. What is it supposed to mean? I enjoy singing it, but it's never made much sense to me.


One reason I wanted to reprint your question is to point out how easy it is to sing hymns or songs we’ve known most of our lives–but never stop to think about their message. The next time you go to church, ask God to help you to pay special attention to the words of each hymn or song.

This grand old spiritual is based on a vision God gave to Ezekiel, recorded in the 37th chapter of the book that bears his name. In it, God showed Ezekiel a valley filled with bones (such as might be seen after a terrible battle). God asked Ezekiel if he thought the bones could ever live again, and almost in despair he replied, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3). But then God told him to preach God’s Word to them–and in the vision the bones came together and became living persons.

Ezekiel was living during a very difficult time; his nation had been invaded, and God’s people were in despair. But God wanted them to know that, just as those bones came back to life, they could have new life as they heard God’s Word and obeyed it.

And God changes our lives when we hear God’s Word and respond in faith and trust. What is that Word? It is the message of God’s love for us–a love so deep He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to forgive us and give us new life. And this is God’s message to you–one that will change your life. Respond today by confessing your sins and committing your life to Jesus.