Saturday, August 13, 2011

When God Says, "Woe"

"...Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign LORD."
(Ezekiel 16:23)
The entire chapter of Ezekiel 16 is gripping, graphic and crushing. Why? Because God has said, "Woe" several times in response to the ongoing rebellion of His people of Jerusalem. Almighty God, the all-powerful Creator of the universe -- "the LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love to thousands and forgiving wickedness and sin" (Exodus 34:6) -- is very, very angry with His people. Their sins of pride, idolatry, adultery and the sacrificing of their own children were spreading worse than an incurable disease. God had enough and as we can see (Exodus 34:6), God is long-suffering!
In the first 15 verses of Ezekiel 16, God is describing His love, adoration and pampering of His beloved bride, the people of Jerusalem. But soon, pride and vanity rose up in their hearts and God was not pleased. "But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute" (Ezekiel 16:15). Do we in American begin to see ourselves as people who worship beauty? Do we believe we don't need The Shepherd to lead, provide and protect us? Do we prefer to leave The Shepherd's pasture and each become a Lone Wolf instead?
They became unfaithful. The LORD said the gifts He gave His bride became their perversions: "You took your fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them" (Ezekiel 16:18). Have we become idolatrous with the gifts of our technology tools called cell phones and smart phones? During Sunday morning worship services how do we lift holy hands with a mocha latte in one hand and a cell phone in the other? God also describes how His bride took the clothing and the finest of foods and worshipped their own idols with them. Do we do such things with our bodies and personal wardrobes?
The LORD was disciplining His own for their wickedness, "Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declared the Sovereign LORD. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?" (Ezekiel 16:43)
In our own nation, sex-trafficking, pornography studios, legalized abortion, and prostitution dwell on the American street corners and in rented back rooms. Will we turn to God and repent as a nation?
Our HOPE is that the same God who rises up to judge the sins of the world is also a tender-hearted Shepherd of His people. "...his greatness no one can fathom" (Psalm 145:3).
At the end of Ezekiel 16, after dealing with the heinous sins of His own people, God shows them mercy and compassion. "So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 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" (Ezekiel 16:62-63). It takes the righteous sacrifice of Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of His people and satisfy the wrath of God. And that's exactly what He did for His bride.

I pray Almighty God will have mercy on U.S.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
For His Glory,