God grabbed me. God's Spirit took me up and sat me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones.
He led me around and among them - a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain - dry bones, bleached by the sun.
He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "Master God, only you know that."
He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!'"
God, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life.
I'll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize that I am God!"
I prophesied just as I'd been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone.
I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.
He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, 'God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!'"
So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army.
Then God said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they're saying: 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there's nothing left of us.'
"Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, 'God, the Master, says: I'll dig up your graves and bring you out alive - O my people! Then I'll take you straight to the land of Israel.
When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you'll realize that I am God.
I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize that I am God. I've said it and I'll do it. God's Decree.'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)