Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jerusalem’s story - part 3

U-Turns allowed (Image: Pixabay)
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 16:44-63

TO CHEW ON: “And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done, says the LORD GOD.’” Ezekiel 16:62,63

Jerusalem continued to deteriorate in God’s eyes. She had spurned Him as her husband and gone after idolatrous lovers. Her sins were worse than those of her sister cities (and their daughters—their suburbs and  surrounding villages), big sister Samaria and little sister Sodom.

God named specific sins: pride, gluttony, idleness, callousness to the poor, committing “abominations” [abomination: toebah = a disgusting thing, in a ritual sense of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages, in an ethical sense of wickedness etc.]

The Bible commenter Matthew Henry draws our attention to the height from which Jerusalem has fallen:
“Jerusalem had the temple, and the ark, and the priesthood, and kings of the house of David; and therefore the wickedness of that holy city, that was so dignified, so near, so dear to God, was more provoking to him than the wickedness of Sodom and Samaria, that had not Jerusalem’s privileges and means of grace.” - Matthew Henry Commentary, accessed through

God saw only one solution for Jerusalem. It came from Him and was given not because Jerusalem deserved His mercy but because He doesn’t go back on His word—His covenant (Ezekiel 16:60). 

The atonement He will provide  (I believe a prophecy of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross) will pay for all they have done (Ezekiel 16:63). 

His grace will soften even Jerusalem’s rebellious heart (“Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed…”), a picture Ezekiel paints so beautifully in other places like Ezekiel 11:19,20:
“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”

Though this passage is a prophecy concerning a city in the Middle East and an ethnic people, it also shows us a side of God that relates to us. Though we may violate our covenant with Him, backslide, and commit the most awful sins, He is willing to accept us back (Isaiah 1:18). All it takes is our own repentance (“…remember your ways and be ashamed…” - Ezekiel 16:61, also Luke 13:3, Acts 3:19; 8:22). For us too the atonement He made is sufficient (1 Peter 3:18).

PRAYER: Dear father, help me to detect signs and symptoms of rebellion within me before they fruit into backsliding. Help me to be quick to repent. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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