This devotional might not be the one you choose to read in family or office devotions. Frankly, if a film were made of Ezekiel 16, it would have to be rated NC-17. Such a film would certainly contain adult situations and themes. Violence would be extreme. It would be labeled for mature audiences only. No one under seventeen would be admitted without a legal guardian. So offensive would be this storyline, that even Quentin Tarantino would blush.
Ezekiel 16 has sixty-three verses. For this reason I have chosen not to provide the text. Perhaps you want to stop reading this blog right now and grab your copy of the Scriptures. But if you are anything like my middle and high school children, the CliffsNotes are as follows.
Ezekiel 16:1-5 God reminded Israel of her pitiful birth parents. There was nothing special about her pedigree, and her birth narrative was shockingly disgusting. Following delivery, her parents left her in her bloody condition, took her with umbilical cord still attached, and deposited her at the local dump outside the city gate.
Ezekiel 16:6-14 However, God showed pity and compassion. He rescued her, encouraged her to live, and oversaw her maturation. As a result, she flourished. God built a masterpiece that all looked upon in wonder and amazement. This was like a fairytale; the pitiful infant became a beautiful princess. Then God declared his sovereign intent; he would marry her. He washed her, bathed her, clothed and adorned her with the best of jewels. No good thing did he withhold from her. He made a covenant with her, and they were one. From Gehenna to Glory, such was the promotion and blessing of this young woman.
Ezekiel 16:15-34 Sadly, the story takes a sour turn. The beloved bride becomes ungrateful and unchaste. She misuses the blessings and gifts of God, and plays the loose woman. She has multiple affairs and is labeled a whore, but she has not hit rock-bottom yet. Horrifically, she pulls her children into her lascivious lifestyle; they are used, abused and slaughtered. She is like a locomotive without a conductor; she is out of control. Soon she is selling herself to anyone and everyone; she is available to any passerby. So brazen is this Jezebel that even the Philistines are ashamed of her lewd behavior. And is she happy? No she is not. Three times, in verses 28-29, she is described as “not satisfied” On the outside she presents a happy face, but on the inside her heart is sick. (vs. 30) However, she will not repent, and her downward spiral continues. Soon she is an addict. No longer are people paying her for sexual intimacy; she is paying others. In order for her to pretend to be the object of desire she once was, she gives payment to wicked men. She now pays men to have their way with her.
Ezekiel 16:35-38 Needless to say, God is angry and incensed. With holy jealousy he commits to harming those who have abused his bride. Additionally, he will judge and discipline his wayward wife, but there is hope.
Ezekiel 16:59-63 God does not lie, nor does he forget. God will remember his covenant and keep his vows. He will make her ashamed of her sin; he will make her repent; he will atone for all her sins. And when he has finished his work, they will again, together, enjoy everlasting marital bliss. He will be gracious and merciful. The love of God is not fickle; it is forever!
When one applies this inspired prophetic parable to the nation of Israel, one awaits a day when God will restore his whorish bride. Personally, I am not sure if this is a reality or not, but I certainly hope so. It would be quite enjoyable to see Israel come to know Christ as her Savior, dominate the Middle East, and give glory to the Triune Yahweh. Perhaps this is what Romans 11 teaches as well. Israel certainly needs revival. She certainly needs to repent of playing the whore, forgetting her maker, killing the prophets, and slaughtering the One who came to seek and save the lost. She is not there yet, but perhaps she is getting close. We certainly should pray towards this end.
However, real worship can begin in our life right now if we apply this inspired prophetic parable to the Bride of Christ — the Church. We are children of the Devil. He hates us, disregards us, and finds some sort of sinister glee as we are left for dead and deposited at the dump — Gehenna. However, the loving and compassionate God will not leave us in our deprave condition. He has made an eternal covenant with us; he loved us before we loved him. Before the beginning of time he chose us; this is despite our free will and the fact that he is omniscient. He knows our future. He knows our sin. He knows the choices we will make. He knows what we will do with his gifts and blessings. He knows we will proficient at being the spiritual prostitute. Yet, despite his sovereign knowledge of our whoredom, he makes promises to love is for better or worse …. And he will love us by being the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus understands that prostitution is heinous. Jesus understands that prostitution is a blight on his name and character. Jesus understands that the prostitute deserves to be mocked, stripped, beaten, humiliated and killed. And because he loves his unfaithful spouse, Jesus commits to being the substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus, who never had a sinful thought or deed, became the whorish prostitute on the cross. He was afflicted for our sin. He was crushed for our iniquity. He was forsaken by the Judge – his Father. He was mocked, stripped, beaten, humiliated and killed because he loved his Bride that much. “Man of sorrows, what a name, for the Son of God who came. Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah, what a Savior!”
This should cause us to repent. Talk with the Savior about your transgressions last week. He knows about them, for he died to pay your sin debt.
This should cause us to praise. Spend time in adoration and worship right now.
This should cause us to be humble. Remember from whence you came. Remember who did the work. You have no reason to glorify yourself.
This should cause us to be forgiving to others who have wronged us. We have been taught to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Be a little easier on your spouse and children today.
This should cause us to look for other individuals, who are broken by their sin, and invite them to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. There we will all receive our white garment. There we will all receive our golden crowns. There we will all be dressed in white, holy and without sin. There we will be amazed at the Holy Man who loves his Unholy Bride. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to sing Amazing Grace as well?
Scripture Reading Plan
Monday, November 18, 2013: Ezekiel 16; Hebrews 12
Tuesday, November 19, 2013: Ezekiel 17-19; Hebrews 13
Wednesday, November 20, 2013: Ezekiel 20-21; James 1
Thursday, November 21, 2013: Ezekiel 22-23: James 2
Starting January 1, 2014, this blog will most likely follow a Chronological Reading Plan that will read through the Scriptures in one year. If you have never done this before, it will help your grasp of biblical history to read the Bible in this manner. More information will be coming regarding the particular plan.