Friday, September 28, 2012

Ezekiel 16 - Jerusalem the Prostitute

LINK: Ezekiel 16


BACKGROUND

The "cruel practice of infanticide was prevalent in the ancient world. Unwanted and deformed children were cast out at birth and left to die" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1255). God likened Jerusalem to an abandoned child who had been thrown off because she was a product of the union of two wicked Canaanite cultures: Amorite and Hittite.

God noticed this "struggling infant" and helped her to thrive like a jewel in the field. She grew into beautiful womanhood and God made a covenant of marriage with her. He clothed her like a queen whose fame spread throughout the world (this may allude to the time of David and Solomon's reigns in 1 Kings 10:4-5). 

Sadly, she trusted in her fame and beauty and used it to become a prostitute to other gods. This began in Solomon's reign (1 Kings 11:7-13) and continued until the Babylonian Captivity. By Ezekiel's time, child sacrifice was practiced openly (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35).

Also, she (Jerusalem) became promiscuous with other nations like Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. This alludes to not only new foreign gods to worship but also alliances with these countries. God judged Jerusalem by giving her over to the Philistines (2 Chronicles 21:16-17; 28:16-19) who were even shocked at Jerusalem's wickedness. God's judgment would include God using her "lovers" to destroy her by stone and sword. Deuteronomy 13:15-16 states that if a city in Israel became involved in idolatry, its people were to be killed by the sword and the city was to be burned. This is exactly what happened in Jerusalem's fall to the Babylonians. The root of Jerusalem's sin was her failure to remember the days of her youth (16:43) when God bestowed favor on this abandoned child. God also referred to Samaria and Sodom as Jerusalem's north and south sisters. Not even Sodom, with its terrible sins (Genesis 19:24, 25), was as depraved as Jerusalem!

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Ezekiel 16:53-63 ends in hope. God promised to restore all three sisters. The captives in Babylon would be restored. God would establish an everlasting covenant (37:26; 2 Samuel 23:5; Isaiah 55:3) and reunite the northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom of Judah under the Messiah. In fact, we know from our study of Isaiah that "all nations" will be united under the Messiah (Isaiah 2:2, 3). The "New Covenant" was prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and Ezekiel (11:18-20; 36:26-28; 37:26-28) and began when Jesus paid for the sins of all mankind by His death on the cross (Hebrews 10:8-10)!

No REFLECTION or APPLICATION today. This chapter was longer than usual!

PRAYER

Lord, my heart is grieved over Jerusalem's ungrateful idolatry when You had been so good to them and had blessed them. Help us to be grateful for Your many blessings of love and protection. Help us to be conduits of that blessing to the world rather than becoming involved in the world's idolatry. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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