Ezekial 16:1-14 & Jeremiah 31:36-38
“Again, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 ‘Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: ‘Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling clothes. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
6 And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.
8 When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,’ says the Lord God.
9 Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.
13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,’ says the Lord God.”
I hope that you enjoyed the journey through the book of Hebrews. I certainly learned a lot.
We will take a bit of detour from going through the entire book for a bit. For the next few weeks, we are going to look at God’s love for Israel and His commitment to her.
Recently, I encountered a very large ‘religious’ organization in China and South Korea that promotes their belief in Jesus, and I had a conversation with one of the followers; they ‘checked’ all the right boxes. Do you believe that Jesus is God, that Jesus died on the cross, went to the grave, and rose again? I got yeses all the way through. Do you believe in the Bible as God’s Holy Word? and on we can go; you get the gist. Then, I set up a subsequent meeting with a leader in the group. When I logged into the meeting, I was shown a video of more than 100,000 people ‘graduating’ from a school with much pomp and dance.
There was a man, one whom they seemed to revere and to whom they gave flowers; he was obviously the leader, and when I pressed about who he was, it was then that I learned the whole truth.
They believe that the book of Revelation is a Parable and that this man has the interpretation. They reject Israel, believing that since they rejected Jesus, God has rejected them. So, for instance, where the 12 tribes and 144,000 are mentioned and called out by name, they do not believe they are literal Jews but that these Chinese persons can be in the 144,000 and that only these will be in the New Jerusalem.
I asked a simple Biblical question. How can God be done with Israel when Jesus is a Jew, born of the tribe of Judah, under Mary’s lineage, and thus is the oldest living male and the rightful King of Israel? It was then that I learned that they did not believe in the literal birth of Jesus; it was figurative. Sadly, these folks are not saved. Jesus was literally born, did die, and did resurrect, or we are lost as well without hope.
This bugged me over the last few weeks, and so as I am currently reading through Jeremiah and seeing all the promises that God made to them, and how He planned to preserve a remnant in Babylon so they could come back to Israel and inhabit Jerusalem. I thought we should take a look at God’s love for Israel. This will be an exhaustive look at the subject as best I can do it. I would love your responses and insights if maybe I missed something. Thanks ahead of time for all the time it will take to read these lessons.
In Ezekiel 16, we have a very detailed story of how God views Israel and, in particular, Jerusalem. By the way, we are introduced to Jerusalem in Genesis 14; it is where Abram pays tithes to Melchizedek. God views Jerusalem as his wife. God discovered her abandoned and forsaken; He had compassion on her, washed her, and wrapped her in swaddling clothes; this is a sign of deep affection and care.
God, in verse 6, commands her to ‘live.’ God sustains her, and no one can destroy her without His expressed permission.
Notice in verse 7 that God sees Jerusalem as very beautiful and that He ‘covers’ her; this is a reference to the marital act of intercourse; this is God claiming Jerusalem, in particular, as His wife.
Now we know that Israel and, in particular, Jerusalem were unfaithful to God, and some really bad things happened to them, including captivities in Assyria and Babylon. But God never abandoned Israel; while He was pronouncing the judgment on Jerusalem through Jeremiah, He made sure to include this promise from Jeremiah 31:36-38,
“Only if this fixed order departed from My presence,’ declares the LORD, ‘would Israel’s descendants ever cease to be a nation before Me.’ 37 This is what the LORD says: ‘Only if the heavens above could be measured and the foundations of the earth below searched out would I reject all of Israel’s descendants because of all they have done,’ declares the LORD. 38 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when this city will be rebuilt for Me, from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.”
Now we know the city was rebuilt in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but this was an eternal promise as well, one of those double prophesies. Israel today is rebuilt from the ruins left by the AD 70 invasion and the myriad of crusades that were fought over the centuries. She was basically a barren land for the better part of 1,900 years, but now Israel and, in particular, Jerusalem are rebuilt. She will never cease to exist ever again, and one day, Jesus, the King of the Jews, will sit and reign from the throne of His father David. God loves Israel, so much so that His Son came as a Jew.
I leave you with Psalm 122:6. We are called to love who or what God loves.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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