The Lord compares Jerusalem to a woman in this chapter through a captivating narrative. It goes something like this.
She was born and unwanted immediately thrown out to the elements and not a single thing was done for her. Her umbilical cord wasn’t cut, the blood wasn’t washed off her, and she wasn’t wrapped in a blanket. There she lay, helpless and weak until the Lord saw her. He was moved with compassion and said, “Live!” And she did. He made her flourish and she grew up to be beautiful. But she was still naked and poor.
When he passed her by again she was at that tender age able to take a lover. So the Lord protected her and took her in. He covered up her nakedness. He gave her beautiful clothes, fine jewelry and royalty. He fed her the best foods and her beauty and her reputation for beauty grew among the nations. Verse 14 puts it this way,
“And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.”
Everything she had, her beauty, her security, and even her life was due to God’s favor toward her. But instead of putting her trust in Him, she put her trust in her beauty. She became a whore. She went out and brought men to her and had sex with all of them. She took the clothes, silks and fabrics the Lord had given her and made shrines and places to practice whoring. She perfumed the beds with incense and oils. She took the jewelry he had given her and made sick images of men to call them to her. She even gave the good foods the Lord had given her to the men who came to her beds. All the elements of her relationship with God, she gave away in whoring. Worst of all she sacrificed her children, the ones the Lord had fathered to idols.
She never looked back to her infantile weakness, her need of redemption and the gift of life God gave her. She built brothels for herself everywhere and word of her promiscuity was known everywhere. Even the most wicked countries were shocked at how licentious and immoral she was. Nothing satisfied her she became more and more wanton. Her philandering spread everywhere.
But unlike most hookers, she didn’t accept money for her prostitution. She wasn’t forced to sell her body. She chose to do it. She seduced men. She gave them gifts, and paid them instead of the other way around.
That is quite the dramatic tale! Yet, it is how Jerusalem treated the Lord and it is how too many of us treat Him. Jesus gave us life. He covered our shame and took away our sin. He made us His bride. God gave us gift after gift including royalty. But rather than trust Him, we trust the gifts He lavished on us. We trust beauty, or personality, or power. We practice adultery openly. Then we’re shocked when outsiders judge us for hypocrisy, hate us and call us evil. We lead people away from the truth and sacrifice the children that came to follow us to Jesus to lies and whoredom.
Have you done that? Have you trusted in God’s gifts instead of God? Have you depended on His provision rather than Him? Have you put your faith in your abilities instead of The LORD? The “love” we show to idolaters and the lost by accepting their sins is not love. Their sins lead them to death, and by allowing them think God tolerates sin we are not loving them. The adultery we commit with them is hateful and harmful. Verse 37 reads,
“therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.”
God was so angry with Jerusalem for her blatant infidelity and faithlessness that He let her pay for her own sins. His salvation was not hers. She chose her own religion over a relationship with God. So He let her. He turned her over to her lovers, the many nations whom she could have led to the Lord by glorifying him but instead led to death by glorifying herself.
In Ezekiel 16 Jerusalem was disgusted by Sodom’s sin and Samaria’s iniquities. The Lord called them her sisters and said she was much worse than they ever had been. Sodom was so evil, God obliterated the city from the planet. He called Jerusalem more abominable. We do that today. We think we’re so much better than others. We’re not like the Mormons. They have it all twisted and wrong. We are not like those disgusting homosexuals! We are better.
God says, “No, you are just like them, only worse.” He gave us every opportunity. He heaped His gifts on us. He led us to the truth, but we rejected Him. And we were proud of our rejection as we proclaimed some murky version of “truth” instead of the name of Jesus.
How often do we look at the “sinners” that surround us and think we are better than they are? We’re good. We’re “Christians” We’re not foolish unbelievers who practice every sin in the book. But we are not better. We are far worse because we know better! And too often we join them in their sin, we put a false stamp of approval over it. To know that Jesus gives perfect salvation, to understand that God love us deeply and asks us to love Him first and foremost with our heart, mind soul, and strength, and that Holy Spirit will dwell within us and yet still turn to false gods, philosophies, and sin is far more base than the sins we judge so freely.
God loves you. He wants you to believe, repent, and obey. He wants to let you experience the entirety of His love. God loves the homosexual, the Mormon, and the murderer too. He wants them to know Him. They can’t know Him if you offer some false message to them. They can’t know Him if you emulate a false god rather than the One True Living God.
God gave you life for a purpose. He rescued you for a reason. He brought you to where you are with intention. God is faithful, even when we are not. He wants you, His royal bride to bring others into the Kingdom. Verses 59-63 read,
“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, 60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. 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.”
Examine your life, your heart, and your relationship with God and with the world. Have you made Jesus Christ your Lord and King? Have you been completely faithful to Him? Have you flirted with the world instead of loving them? Are you a devoted bride to the King of kings? Do you trust God to be your God or do you trust the gifts He gave you?