“Mom, I have an idea for a painting.” A spiritual representation of the restorative work of God, the picture had formed in my son’s mind during a worship service and included Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones. Though this most recent design was out of the ordinary for both Micah and his painting instructor, she willingly coached him from the beginning sketch to the final brushstroke.

Sin destroys. Like an all-consuming fire, its reach can’t be underestimated (Galatians 3:22). Describing the spiritual wasteland of dry bones, the prophet Ezekiel said, “[The Spirit] led me all around among the bones . . . . They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out” (Ezekiel 37:1-2). In this vision, where Ezekiel saw only death, God spoke of restoration (Ezekiel 37:14). When the Lord asked the prophet, “‘Son of man, can these bones become living people again?’” Ezekiel responded, “O Sovereign Lord . . . you alone know the answer to that” (Ezekiel 37:3).

Obeying the Spirit, Ezekiel then told the dried-out, dead bones—without nerves, brain stem, or ears—to listen to the word of the Lord (Ezekiel 37:4). Though it meant speaking what was yet unseen, he believed that what proceeded from the heart of God was greater than any consequence of sin (Rom. 3:23-24). By God’s work, bone came to bone, and sinew and muscles joined with flesh (Ezekiel 37:7-8); then “breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army” (Ezekiel 37:10).

In the valley, all had seemed hopeless, barren, and broken. But God’s word restored what sin had stolen (Isaiah 55:3,11). Ezekiel’s vision demonstrates that no matter how widespread the sin, God’s power is greater (Romans 5:20-21).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Exodus 18:1-27