Ezekiel 16:35-42 (NIV) 35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the LORD! 36 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you poured out your wealth and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood, 37 therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness. 38 I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. 39 Then I will hand you over to your lovers, and they will tear down your mounds and destroy your lofty shrines. They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you naked and bare. 40 They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers. 42 Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.
On verses 35-42: Here God continues to paint the picture of Jerusalem as God’s unfaithful wife, this time focusing on the suffering and punishment Jerusalem would go through for her adulterous ways. Here God speaks of gathering all of Jerusalem’s lovers and stripping Jerusalem in front of them (v37), of bringing blood vengeance upon Jerusalem (v38), of Jerusalem’s lovers tearing down her mounds and lofty shrines (v39), of bringing a mob against Jerusalem (v40) and burning down their houses (v41). In talking this way, God is not speaking figuratively or poetically only. Rather, much of this would actually happen within just a few short years when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would invade and conquer Jerusalem in 58 B.C., fulfilling many of these prophetic images. Thus these words in verses 35-42 are what would actually happen to Jerusalem as a result of their persistent idolatry.
In addition, these verses are an apt description of the humiliation and suffering Jesus would go through on our behalf. To think that Jesus went through all the suffering that is described in these verses all so that God’s wrath against us would subside and His anger toward us could be turned away.
Ezekiel 16:43-48 (NIV) 43 “‘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, declares the Sovereign LORD. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices? 44 “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” 45 You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.
On verses 43-48: In calling Samaria and Sodom Jerusalem’s sisters (v46-47), God is basically saying that Jerusalem is in the same family as some of the most wicked and evil nations of the ancient world. The difference between Jerusalem and these foreign nations is that Jerusalem had become “more depraved than they” (v47).
What can we learn from this? When God lumps Jerusalem in the same family as Samaria and Sodom here, it reminds me of how Jesus lumps the Pharisees in the same family as Satan (John 8:44) and lumps all those who obey Jesus as being part of Jesus’ family (Matthew 12:49). God tends to lump us in with the group of people that we act the most like. If your true family consisted of those people who act, think and feel the most like you do, then who is your family, what is your family like, and would you be a child of God?
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus Your Son to bear all of Your wrath on our behalf. Thank You that I am blessed with the most amazing Saviour in Jesus as well as such a loving spiritual family. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!