Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Out of a Puddle
The prophet Ezekiel rebuked errant Israel and reminded her that God had given her everything after finding her in a pathetic situation. It was the story line of "My Fair Lady" in grand scale.
But the "cleaned up" young woman had become vain, self-reliant, lewd, unthankful and disloyal. Hear his burden from the Lord in chapter 16:
4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.
5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.
6 Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!"
7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare.
8 Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.
9 I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you.
10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.
11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck,
12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.
13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.
14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.
It is quite clear that the nation had nothing in herself in which to boast. The transformation had been the work of the Lord entirely.
We in the Church should come to the same self-assessment. If we have fallen into a sense of haughtiness, worldliness or idolatry, we can take comfort in the faithfulness and longsuffering of our God as also revealed by the prophet:
59 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant.
60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.
61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on the basis of my covenant with you.
62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD.
63 Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign LORD.