Ezekiel was given this vision by God at a time when God's people were crushed, confused, and utterly stunned because everything they had believed about their future had been snuffed out. When Assyria conquered the North Kingdom, the people of Judah still thought they were invincible; they believed God had established his residence in Jerusalem and had promised that the House of David would rule forever. When the leaders of Jerusalem were exiled to Babylon, they still thought the problem would soon be over, everybody would come home, and everything would be all right. But after the siege and fall of Jerusalem, and the terrible massacre, everybody understood that things were NOT all right, and would never be the same.
When we are stripped of everything, have lost our homes, our jobs, our children, have been betrayed by our family or friends, when we are stunned and cannot think what to do--these are the times we need God the most. We are forced to understand that we sons and daughters of man have no power when we are exposed and humiliated, torn apart with grief, and dry as dust, like the bones in the valley. God asked Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?"
The answer, of course, is that we do not know. When we mortals finally acknowledge that there is none to trust except God, then he will send us his Holy Spirit to breathe life into us as he did for the man and woman of clay at the Creation of humankind. There will be a stirring, a refreshing breeze, a renewal of life, creativity, and intelligence. There will be even the beginnings of joy, knowing we are held in the hands of our Maker. We will know that he is our Lord, the all-powerful, and will be our God forever.