Ezekiel 16:1-2 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices
On verses 1-2: In chapter 16, the Lord gives Ezekiel a second parable with which the Lord wants Ezekiel to confront the city of Jerusalem. The parable is about Jerusalem and her unfaithfulness toward God. The next 12 verses (verses 3-14) describe the initially beautiful part of the love story between the Lord and the city of Jerusalem. They also reflect what God did for us through Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 16:3 (NIV) 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
On verse 3: The reference to Jerusalem’s ancestry and birth being “in the land of the Canaanites” is probably a reference to how the city of Jerusalem was not originally founded by Israelites, but by Canaanites. The same goes for the reference to how Jerusalem’s “father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite” (v2). The point here is that originally Jerusalem was not entitled to God’s special love or attention. Rather God supernaturally chose Jerusalem.
Likewise, you and I being sinners were not naturally or legally entitled to any of God’s love or attention. Yet God supernaturally chose to give us His love and attention.
Ezekiel 16:4-5 (NIV) 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.
On verses 4-5: Jerusalem is described here as an unwanted, helpless and abandoned child, with no one to care for her. Likewise, before Jesus came into our lives, spiritually we were abandoned and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Ezekiel 16:6-7 (NIV) 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.
On verses 6-7: When God saw Jerusalem, He had compassion on her and was committed to caring for her, loving her back to health, causing her to grow exceptionally beautiful. Likewise, when God saw our helpless state, He had compassion on us and cared for us. His love brought health, restoration and beauty into our lives.
Ezekiel 16:8 (NIV) 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.
On verse 8: Here God describes Himself as Jerusalem’s first lover and husband. Likewise, we the church are described as Jesus’ bride.
Ezekiel 16:9 (NIV) 9 “‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you.
On verse 9: God is described here as washing the blood and dirt from Jerusalem’s body and anointing her with oil. This picture is echoed in Ephesians 5:25-26, which describes how “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word”. It is Jesus who cleanses us, washes away our sins and anoints us with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel 16:10 (NIV) 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.
On verse 10: The expensive clothes and fine linen in which God dressed Jerusalem symbolize the righteousness and blessing God gave Jerusalem. Fine linen is a symbol for purity and righteousness (Revelation 19:8). Likewise, Jesus has clothed us in robes of righteousness. As Isaiah 61:10 says, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Ezekiel 16:11-13 (NIV) 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.
On verses 11-13: The jewelry and crown that God gave Jerusalem represent the elevated royal status and wealth God lavished on Jerusalem. Likewise, through faith in Jesus Christ, we become members of God’s royal family and heirs of His kingdom.
Ezekiel 16:14 (NIV) 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.
On verse 14: Jerusalem was naturally very beautiful, but the splendor God gave Jerusalem made her beauty perfect, He says. Similarly, by nature we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, but when we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we allow God to do a more glorious work in our lives where He adorns us with His splendour and makes our beauty perfect in His sight.
Heavenly Father, thank You that when I was helpless and abandoned, You found me, nursed me back to health, restored me, took care of me, pursued me, made me Your own, adorned me in Your righteousness, shared Your riches with me and elevated my status to that of heavenly royalty. Thank You for being the epitome of a compassionate hero and a faithful lover. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!