Ezekiel 16:15-34 (NIV) 15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. 17 You also took the 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. 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you–the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat–you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign LORD. 20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? 21 You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. 22 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood. 23 “‘Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign LORD. In addition to all your other wickedness, 24 you built a mound for yourself and made a lofty shrine in every public square. 25 At the head of every street you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, offering your body with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. 26 You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and provoked me to anger with your increasing promiscuity. 27 So I stretched out my hand against you and reduced your territory; I gave you over to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were shocked by your lewd conduct. 28 You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. 29 Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied. 30 “‘How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign LORD, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! 31 When you built your mounds at the head of every street and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment. 32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.
On verses 15-34: Here in verses 15-34 the love story between God and the city of Jerusalem takes a tragic turn. God recounts how Jerusalem’s love for God grows cold and Jerusalem chases after other lovers instead.
Here God compares Jerusalem’s idolatry to adultery. That’s because Jerusalem had made vows to the Lord and had a relationship with the Lord much like married people do, and then Jerusalem cheated on Him by running to other gods, such as the gods of Egypt (v26), Philistia (v27), Assyria (v28) and Babylonia (v29).
God also compares Jerusalem’s idolatry to prostitution, for Jerusalem was taking her beauty as well as the gifts and treasures that God had given Jerusalem and was giving them away to other nations and other gods to use (v15-19). The only difference between Jerusalem and a prostitute is that instead of these other nations paying Jerusalem in exchange for her affection, Jerusalem incredibly pays other nations to take her affection (v33-34).
God rebukes Jerusalem for several things:
– her weak will (v30);
– her inability to stay faithful and loyal to one lover (v32);
– how she would publicly pay homage to other gods in her public squares (v23-25);
– her foolish giving away of herself and her treasures to those who would not cherish her;
– how she would sacrifice her children to the gods of these other nations (v20-21); and
– her failing to remember where she came from, forgetting that she was abandoned, helpless and alone when the Lord found her (v22).
From all this we learn that God takes seriously and personally the act of idolatry, when we place anything above God Himself. To the extent that we do the same, we must repent and confess our sins to God as well.
Do I suffer from a weak will?
Do I have a problem with loyalty or faithfulness to God or to others?
Do I pay homage to other gods, whether privately or publicly?
Do I bad mouth God or God’s people?
Do I forget and take for granted how God rescued me when I was helpless and in need of a Saviour?
Do I give myself away too easily to people or things that are not nearly as important as God, letting them have me in ways that God should have me?
Do I allow my children to suffer because I am so into worshiping my own status, image, pleasure or power?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, take a moment and pray this prayer:
Heavenly Father, I’m sorry for the times when I have sinned against You by [specify the sin you need to confess]. You alone are worthy of my worship. Thank You that Your Son Jesus Christ died to pay for my sins and that by His blood I am cleansed and forgiven. In Jesus’ name, I cut off the hold that [specify the sin you need to confess] has on my life and I rebuke the enemy Satan for trying to lure me away from You. Thank You Father for never giving up on me and for patiently waiting for me to come back to You. I run back to You today. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!