I was not able to write a blog entry last week because it took a while for me to really digest Ezekiel chapter 16. Reading it pierced my heart and the Word cut through my soul. I couldn’t bear the emotions while reading it, it’s just too intense, raw, painful – but this is also the kind of Word that powerfully changes our life and perspective.
Ezekiel chapter 16 talks about the unfaithfulness of Jerusalem against God.
At first, it portrays how God chose Jerusalem, when no one else had any interest in her, and God made a covenant with her. It shows how He adorned her with jewelries and the finest clothes. She, who was once nothing, became like a queen.
““But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, ‘Live!’” Ezekiel 16:6 NLT
“And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.” Ezekiel 16:8 NLT
“Your fame soon spread throughout the world because of your beauty. I dressed you in my splendor and perfected your beauty, says the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 16:14 NLT
However, Jerusalem gave herself up to other nations, building alliances with them instead of trusting God and being completely dependent on Him. She started building altars and worshiping their idols and she made these nations and their relationship her idols and set them above God in her heart. She did not remember to look back when she was nothing and God gave her everything and made a covenant with her. She prostituted herself to other nations without demanding payment from them and forgot about God.
““But you thought your fame and beauty were your own. So you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along. Your beauty was theirs for the asking.” Ezekiel 16:15 NLT
“You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against me!” Ezekiel 16:17 NLT
“In all your years of adultery and detestable sin, you have not once remembered the days long ago when you lay naked in a field, kicking about in your own blood.” Ezekiel 16:22 NLT
“On every street corner you defiled your beauty, offering your body to every passerby in an endless stream of prostitution.” Ezekiel 16:25 NLT
““What a sick heart you have, says the Sovereign Lord, to do such things as these, acting like a shameless prostitute.” Ezekiel 16:30 NLT
“Prostitutes charge for their services—but not you! You give gifts to your lovers, bribing them to come and have sex with you.” Ezekiel 16:33 NLT
This aroused God’s anger and made Him very jealous. Who would have thought that Jerusalem could do this to Him, after all that He has done for her? This is such a huge scandal and brings shame to His Name.
“I will punish you for your murder and adultery. I will cover you with blood in my jealous fury. Then I will give you to these many nations who are your lovers, and they will destroy you. They will knock down your pagan shrines and the altars to your idols. They will strip you and take your beautiful jewels, leaving you stark naked. They will band together in a mob to stone you and cut you up with swords. They will burn your homes and punish you in front of many women. I will stop your prostitution and end your payments to your many lovers.” Ezekiel 16:38-41 NLT
At this point, I reflected on my life, how God raised me up until the time that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The first time I had a personal encounter with Jesus, I was really on fire. The first love I had for Him was full of passion and joy. He blessed me with a good and stable job, gave me the ability to do what I want and go where I want (I love to travel), and established me in a church community with godly friends and a spiritual family who accepted me.
But then, one of my weaknesses is relationship with men. I put them above God. Soon, these men have become idols in my heart and I started worshiping my relationships. This made me sin even more as I did things that I know He wouldn’t approve. Although I claim that I am a Christian, I deserted God and have prostituted myself to these men without demanding payment. In fact, I had to do things in order to keep the relationship going, which was like paying them instead of the other way around.
How could I do this, even after experiencing God’s love and goodness in my life? There’s really no way to sugar-coat it but I was rebellious and stubborn. I said, “Alright, you can be the Lord over this area of my life, but not on this one. I will obey some of Your commands but not the others.” This was me basically boxing God into what He can and cannot do in my life and only following Him when it suits me.
I got engaged and ALMOST got married but God destroyed my plans. Because sometimes, God destroys our plans if He sees that our plans will destroy us. He said in the last sentence of Ezekiel 16:41, “I will stop your prostitution and end your payments to your many lovers.”
That’s how much He loves us. I realized this months after I had a broken engagement. Why did the Lord allow that to happen to me? It’s because even if I deserted Him and have rebelled against Him, He still cares for me and He loves me dearly. He didn’t want me to have a miserable life, spending it with an unbeliever who doesn’t understand my faith. It’s chaos and will only result to more pain and suffering!
Towards the end of Ezekiel chapter 16, God gave a promise of restoration and forgiveness of sins because of His mercy and faithfulness to His covenant with us.
“Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.” Ezekiel 16:60 NLT
This promise is available to anyone who repents and turns away from their old sinful ways and go back to Him.
“And I will reaffirm my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. You will remember your sins and cover your mouth in silent shame when I forgive you of all that you have done. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”” Ezekiel 16:62-63 NLT
This verse reminds me of a sinful woman in Luke chapter 7, who has wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, who did not stop kissing His feet and anointed them with ointment. She loved much because she has been forgiven of her many sins.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”” Luke 7:47 ESV
After all that I’ve been through, my experiences only led me to love God even more and to honor Him and to always put Him above everything and everyone else and make Him the Lord of my life – over every area of my life. Because if He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all.
I hope sharing my experience helped you gain a little bit of insight of how deep the love of God for us is. Head knowledge of the Word is totally different from real-life application. Submitting to God’s lordship over your life can be difficult at times because of the altars you’ve built and the idols you worship in your hearts over the years. God will destroy these altars and idols and will redeem you. It may be painful and you might not understand it right away but it is necessary so that He can get you back and give you eternal life. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Reflect on your life: What are the altars you’ve built and the idols you are worshiping that are currently pulling you away from God? How can you submit to His lordship and surrender these altars and idols at His feet?
Have a blessed weekend!