When we look at those parts or that section of Ezekiel’s prophecies which have to do with the existing condition of Israel, we see a people disintegrated, scattered, and disrupted. God’s view of them was revealed in the vision of the valley of dry bones: many very many bones: spread over the valley; unarticulated and uncoordinated: bare, dry, and useless by reason of their dividedness. What a true picture of the state where the vision of God’s all-integrating purpose has been lost! How true are the words we read in Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint [fall apart; go to pieces]”.
The mighty movement of the Spirit in the valley was not just motivated by the desire to have the bones together “bone to its bone” and clothed and covered. It was governed by the purpose of Israel’s election, to be the channel through which after the flesh God’s Son would come. Unity is always in God’s thought to bring Christ in in fullness. To hinder that, all hell is set on the disintegration of the people of God.
The real incentive to union is the recognition that by it the fullness of Christ will come in. This is ‘Ephesians’, and if ‘Ezekiel’ ends with the triumphant shout, “The Lord is there”, it is the effect and result of the vision and apprehension of the Man on the Throne, and God’s purpose concerning Him.
Immediately after the Cross the disciples and the followers of Jesus were very much like the bones in the valley. The metaphor is changed but the effect was the same. “I will smite the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matt. 26:31). Scattered and peeled! Helpless and shattered! But note the effect of the Spirit’s energies on the Day of Pentecost. Gathered and integrated! Co-ordinated and unified! Clothed and nourished! They were on their feet an army. The integration was truly the effect of the energies of the Spirit, but the great feature of their integration was the vision and power of the Divine purpose concerning Jesus Christ. The book of ‘Acts’ is the book of Purpose energized by the Holy Spirit, and it is the book of concerted action on that basis.