Summary: The God of Ezekiel is not only a God of justice, but of love.
THE GOD OF LOVE
There are so many people that believe that the God of the Old Testament (O.T.) is a different God than the God of the New Testament. They believe that the O.T. God is a God of wrath and anger that only wants to destroy and kill people. This belief shows that they have not opened up their Old Testaments that much. They missed amazing texts that show God’s patience, love and forgiveness of His people. One such text is Ezekiel 16.
Our text begins with the word of YHWH coming to Ezekiel– he is to make known to Jerusalem her abominations (Ezekiel 16:1-2). Even though it is most likely that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are also under discussion, in order to maintain the consistency of the metaphorical image, we will first describe the text just as Ezekiel does– in terms of Jerusalem the city herself.
The description of Jerusalem is not like we have ever seen before. Jerusalem is described as being a girl who was born in Canaan to an Amorite father and Hittite mother who apparently abandoned her at birth– she is kicking in her blood, with umbilical cord uncut, blood and other secretions unwashed, naked and exposed (Ezekiel 16:3-4). There was none to have compassion on Jerusalem; she was abhorred (Ezekiel 16:5). God is then described as passing by, seeing Jerusalem in her blood, commanding her to live, and on account of God’s care, Jerusalem was able to grow into (sexual) maturity, although she remained naked and unadorned (Ezekiel 16:5-7).
God then passes by her later when she had matured to the age of love, and He then covers her with His garment, making a covenant with her, and she became His (Ezekiel 16:8). He then cleans her up, adorns her with clothing and jewelry, and provides her with sustenance (Ezekiel 16:9-13). Her great beauty was made known to all the nations, and the Source of her beauty was God (Ezekiel 16:14).
Sadly, the woman Jerusalem begins to trust in her beauty, and she begins to play the whore (Ezekiel 16:15). She took the things YHWH gave her– the garments, the ornaments, the food– and made shrines and idols and offerings to those idols from them (Ezekiel 16:16-19). The children born to woman Jerusalem she burned in the fire, and in all of these things she did not remember when she was born, wallowing in her blood (Ezekiel 16:20-22).
She persists in her whoredom, making chambers and high places everywhere, offering herself to the Egyptians, for which she was punished at the hands of the Philistines, embarrassed at her behavior (Ezekiel 16:23-27). She increased her whoredom by going after Assyria and Babylonia in turn (Ezekiel 16:28-29).
God declares how lustful her heart is, seeing that she persistently acts like a brazen whore (Ezekiel 16:30). Yet she is not your average whore, because whores at least get paid for their services– woman Jerusalem commits whoredom and pays for the “privilege” of committing adultery, not receiving payment (Ezekiel 16:31-34)!
God continues to show how terrible His people have treated Him throughout the rest of the chapter. when we get to the end of it, we see how amazingly merciful and loving God is. After all she has done against Him, He will forgive her and bless her.
“Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant 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 your older and your younger; and I will give them to you as daughters, but not because of your covenant. 62 “Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63 so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord GOD declares.
NEW LIFE FROM GOD
One of the most well-known prophecies in the book of Ezekiel is the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy in 37:1-14. The purpose of the prophecy is to show that God can give deliverance to a rebellious people that have no hope (Israel-v11). He gives them hope, telling them that He will bring them back into their land.
This vision of the valley of dry bones is an interesting one. Ezekiel is placed in this valley by God and asked by God if these bones can live again. This question must have been a faith-testing question. Ezekiel answered it perfectly in saying that God is the one who knows if this can happen. God tells him to prophecy to the bones, and Ezekiel watches as the bones come together, have flesh put onto them, and are given the breath of life. This surely would have been an amazing thing to witness. Ezekiel saw God’s power to give life to the dead.