“But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it.” (Ezekiel 16:15)
God is love—and He is a jealous God. He will share us with no other lover. God demands that we who are loved absolutely, return that love to Him exclusively. To fail to love the Lord with all our being is tantamount to spiritual adultery. With graphic words that are enough to make a sailor blush, Ezekiel 16 describes the unfaithfulness of Israel. These lessons are still applicable to the church today as the bride of Christ.
The chapter begins with a description of Israel’s pitiful condition (v.1-5). God tells how He came to love them. They were a tiny people without promise of life. Like a baby abandoned at birth—cast away and without hope—that is a picture of their spiritual condition. There was nothing they could do to save themselves. That is our state without Christ. We are hopeless and helpless, dying in our sins.
The saga continues with a picture of God’s precious compassion (v.6-14). In their death throes, God reached out to them in sovereign grace and imparted life to them. Not only did He rescue them, He cared for them as they grew, and brought them into His heart as His bride—clothing them and entering a covenant with them. They were exalted as the bride of the King. The church is the Bride of Christ through His grace as He has redeemed us, and promised us His fidelity. He has clothed us in righteousness. How could we be unfaithful to such a Lover?
Israel did, and we may. Next we witness Israel’s pornographic corruption (v.15-34). Pornographic is the best description for the vile manner in which they gave themselves to idols. Corruption defines the moral filth that marked their depravity. God is serious about this sin. The first two of the Ten Commandments—those fundamental moral standards—demand that we worship God exclusively and properly. They were insatiable in their idolatry—even offering their children as sacrifices! When we look lustfully at the things of this world, surrender our hearts to them, and give that which God has bestowed on us to another, it is a foul and filthy thing! So quickly we forget the goodness of God and wander from the Lover of our Soul!
This brought God’s painful correction (v.35-59). God would begin by exposing them to shame by the heathen nations with whom they had cavorted. As death was the penalty for those who committed physical adultery, the death of multitudes in Israel would be the tragic consequence of their lewd behavior. God loves us too much to let us go. It is not only for His glory, but for our good as well, that He uses the chastening rod to break us of our rebellion. God may have straying children, who become suffering children, but He will not have spoiled children!
The chastening will do its job as the chapter closes with God’s promised covenant (v.60-63). The covenant God makes is an everlasting one. Their unfaithfulness would not void God’s everlasting love. There is coming a day when Israel will return with tears of repentance to the Lord. They will find Him waiting with open arms! Someone has said, “It is impossible for you to do anything that would make God love you more and impossible for you to do anything that would make Him love you less!” Let us love Him with all we are!