Ezekiel 16:49-59 (NIV) 49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. 53 “‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, 54 so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. 55 And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before. 56 You would not even mention your sister Sodom in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered. Even so, you are now scorned by the daughters of Edom and all her neighbors and the daughters of the Philistines–all those around you who despise you. 58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the LORD. 59 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant.
On verses 49-59: Jerusalem had looked down on Sodom and Samaria as places of great wickedness (v56). Yet here God says that Jerusalem’s sins have exceeded those of Sodom and Samaria, making those places which were known for their wickedness look righteous compared to Jerusalem. God tells Jerusalem repeatedly to “bear your disgrace” (v52, 54) because not only did she pridefully judge others, but she proved herself to be a hypocrite and an even worse sinner than the people she judged. God also tells Jerusalem later to “bear the consequences of your lewdness and detestable practices” (v58).
What can we learn from this? Have you ever judged someone for doing something wrong, and then you ended up doing the same thing or worse? That is called pride and hypocrisy. In response to our pride and hypocrisy, God had every right to make us bear our disgrace and treat us as our sins deserve, just as God would do to Jerusalem. However, in God’s mercy and love, God would send His Son Jesus to bear our disgrace instead, and to bear the consequences of our sin by dying on a cross. What an amazing Saviour we have in Jesus, that He would bear our disgrace for us and suffer the consequences in our place.
Ezekiel 16:60-63 (NIV) 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made 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 those who are older than you and those who are younger. I will give them to you as daughters, but not on the basis of my covenant with you. 62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 63 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.'”
On verses 60-63: Though the Lord would punish Jerusalem for her sins, the Lord would also remember and establish the covenant He made with Jerusalem (v60, 62), a covenant that Ezekiel wrote about earlier in Ezekiel 11:18-20. God would restore not only Jerusalem but also Sodom and Samaria and place them in Jerusalem’s care as if they were her own daughters (v61). He would mercifully make atonement for Jerusalem, causing Jerusalem to be humbled and contrite because of her sins (v63).
What can we learn from this? Though God is just and committed to punishing sin, He is also merciful and delights in restoring those who sin. We see this at Jesus’ cross where God punished our sins while at the same time showing us incredible mercy by making atonement for our sins. The cross helps us to see how gravely we had sinned against God. The cross also humbles us as we appreciate God’s incredible mercy and grace toward us.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for those times when I’ve been a prideful hypocrite, when I have judged others for doing something wrong, and then gone on to do the same or worse. Thank You for Your cross, where You showed Your great wrath toward our sin and your incredible mercy toward us. May Your cross always keep me humble before You and others. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!