It’s been a while since I posted anything… So here ya go interweb:
In my Bible study group thingy that meets at my house on Thursday nights (still not sure what to call this thing we do other than Thursday Night Bible Study), we just started studying Hosea. A few weeks ago we read Ezekiel 16 for the purpose of cross references with Hosea 1:10-3:1. I was struck by the graphic depiction of the people whom he loves.
First, verses 3-5 describes Israel as a baby that was unwanted and left in a field to die. There is nothing intrinsically in the people of God that makes them desirable. Instead, they are unwanted and left to die. It actually says the people of God were abhorred!
And God walks by:
When God comes by in verses 6-14 God makes His people beautiful and brings them to life! In the midst of their depravity and death, God spreads His garment over them, protects them, cloths them, loves them, cleans them, and dresses them up! Then in verse 14 the people of God become famous because of the beauty that God gives them. It is remarkable the beauty of the saints as a result of God’s mercy toward them.
Immediately following God’s mercy the people of God begin to trust in their own beauty and begin to sell off the beauty that God had given them. Verses 15-22 describe a horrific scene. The people of God begin to make their own gods and begin to worship them… they pay for the privilege of playing the prostitute. How wicked! Can you imagine!? Someone paying to BE the prostitute!? They take the gold and jewels that God gave them and use them to create images that they can prostitute themselves toward. They sacrifice the children that they are supposed to raise to “love the LORD their God with all their mind soul and strength” to their false idols. The sad part is that our culture is no better. We are prostituting ourselves to consumerism, self-centeredness, pornography, indulgence, license, and immoralities of all kinds. The people of God give themselves over to false gods. What’s more, we hand our children off to a entertainment focused consumer driven world, surrendering our responsibilities as parents to the TV, internet, extra-curricular activities, schools, etc… (that list is intended to make us think, not tick us off. Sorry if I accomplished the latter) In sad comparison, we pay for those things too.
In verses 30-34 it just keeps getting worse. The people of God are pursue unsolicited wickedness! It’s as if God is saying, “you weren’t even tempted! And yet you chased down sin.” Worse than a prostitute, the people of God are freely adulterous with strangers.
As you go through the rest of the text, God proclaims that he will judge by giving the people of God over to their own lusts. (ex. Verse 39) This is the way that God disciplines. He need not send sever famine or tornados (though He can)… He simply lets us have our way and we feel the consequences of our actions. Think about Romans 1, “and God gave them over” is repeated multiple times. We like to think that we are being oppressed by some outside force, but that is not so. God is not vindictive or petty. He is just, and we reap what we sow. (Gal. 6:7)
As terrible as all this seems, The God of all grace changes the story in verses 59-63. In our wickedness, God atones for our sin and we are confounded by His great love. No matter what we have done, Jesus makes His covenant with us and then promises that He will keep the agreement that we have so defiled. Those last two verses break me in half and I am confounded by the love of God:
” 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.”
I love the LORD