“‘For this is what the sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you according to what you have done when you despised your oath by breaking your covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish a lasting covenant with you. Then you will remember your conduct, and be ashamed when you receive your older and younger sisters. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on account of my covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and then you will know that I am the Lord.'”
Ezekiel 16 is an especially heavy chapter,
The indictments against God’s children Israel are serious, so serious that the best way that God can explain what they’ve done to him is through the context of a wife who chose to become a prostitute.
But not only that, the story starts with a classic ‘rags to riches’ tale. Israel was nothing, they weren’t even a nation when God called Abram and made the promise to him. After taking the Israel from a wandering bedouin, to a powerful force amongst the nations, you would think that of course they would only worship God, but not so.
They play the harlot with other gods and other nations, making treaties with them when instructed not to, worshipping their gods, and taking their women as wives.
But even worse than a prostitute the Lord calls them, because not only did they give themselves to others, they did it for free! They didn’t gain anything from these other nations, in fact they were often attacked and enslaved by them yet God says they still gave themselves freely to the false gods. And even worse than giving themselves away for free, they even brought offerings, they paid others for the honor of being their prostitute!
But after all that, the Lord, who can always bring beauty out of the ashes and brokenness, says that he will remember the covenant that he made with them. And even better than that! he says that he will even expand the covenant to include Israel’s ‘older and younger sisters’ which is what God was calling the pagan nations that Israel had been proverbially sleeping around with.
It’s hard sometimes to fathom the grace of the God that not only forgives Israel, but forgives the pagan nations that attacked, and led astray Israel his wife.
What the old covenant signs foreshadowed, Christ has now completed.
God provided the ram to Abram, that he might not sacrifice Isaac – on the same mountain that years later Jesus would die on, to allow in all tribes, tongues, and nations to the family of God.
God alone walked through the animal parts to seal the covenant, as if to say: ‘you and your descendants can’t possibly uphold this covenant, but as I walk through it now, so my son will walk through it finally, to seal you as mine forever.’
So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe.