Sunday, July 31, 2011
I've finally reached the age when all of my friends are deciding to get married. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about: 11 weddings within one calendar month. People are moving and changing their names, and it's throwing me off! While I think this is crazy, apparently it's normal for growing up. I'm just new to this whole "growing up" notion. As I've been attending so many weddings, showers, and parties, it's really put me in a wedding daze. But not in the silly, romantic way. It has me thinking more about my relationship with the Lord.
Throughout Scripture we are called the Lord's Bride, we are in a covenant relationship with God. However, Ezekiel 16 in the ESV Bible has the heading 'The LORD's Faithless Bride". This chapter, more than any chapter I've ever come across, has convicted me of my adultery against the Lord. I don't think we talk about this enough today, so I would encourage all of you to take a look at Ezekiel 16 sometime this week.
In this chapter God is speaking to Ezekiel, depicting a gruesome, lovely, horrid story that is true in ever aspect. He starts in verse six by stating, "And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' I said to you in your blood, 'Live!" He continues to describe how His love grew in beauty and at the age for love He said, "and you became Mine" (Verse 8). It goes on to describe a beautiful, intimate relationship that between a Lover and beloved.
However, in verse 15 it states, "But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his." The story continues with the beloved giving everything to the passerby-- her jewels, garments, oil and incense, bread, and even her children as a sacrifice. The story reaches a climax in verse 31, "Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. So you were different from other women in your whorings. no one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different."
This is a nasty picture, but I cannot tell you how true it is of us as believers, of myself in specific. I have the unconditional Love of the only Lover that will ever satisfy, and yet I run--yes, run!-- to anyone that I think will bring me greater pleasure. I don't wait to see if something better will be offered, but I turn and give whatever I can-- my time, adoration, gifts, talents-- to anything that looks good at the time being. We play the whore with anything we see as an idol in our life, anything that we put above God. This can easily be seen in relationships, but also in smaller aspects as finances, goals, and so on.
The sweet, sweet truth that the Lord grants us at the end of this chapter has always brought such comfort to me. Verse 59 and following, "For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant... I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 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."
Even after all of that, all of the prostitution, God still chose to remember His covenant with His bride. And He remained faithful, even while she was unfaithful. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful--for He cannot deny Himself". In the Old Testament, God used the word "hesed" to describe His love for us-- loyal, steadfast, faithful. That is His love for us. As it can clearly be seen, this love has nothing to do with our performance or our love in return. He loves us unconditionally, that means NO MATTER WHAT. Can you fathom a love that big? That strong?
"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD."-- Hosea 2:19-20.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."--Jeremiah 31:3.
Wow, that love is big. That love is for you and for me, today!