Passages like Psalm 45:13 and Ephesians 5:27 assure us that the Lord’s people will one day be a glorious bride for the Son of God. We need to remember God’s great promises of blessing as we hear His honest rebuke against Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16. God had given His beloved city every good gift, but she squandered all His presents on misguided spiritual passions.
How could the chosen people turn against the Lord? According to God, “You trusted in your beauty.” She forgot her humble beginnings and would not remember the Lord who had saved her in her distress.
Every culture has its own pattern of worldliness. The customs of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, and any other nation new or old have no power to defeat sin and death. Only a heavenly Savior can bring life to sinful people. The Spirit of God alone can root out the old habits of rebellion from those who had been claimed by God’s covenant mercy.
Without the work of Jesus no people group on earth can ever become citizens of heaven, and in the absence of the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, all those who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb will quickly return to their old wickedness. The good news is that God is very determined to grant us eternal life and to bless us with a growing experience of holiness during our few days under the sun.
Why would the Lord save an “adulterous wife” who had such a disappointing record of dedication to Him? The answer is found in the perfect character of our loving God. “I will remember My covenant with you.” If the Lord confronts our disobedience and makes us “ashamed” of our sin, it is only to break us from the ugly patterns of addictive idolatry that we have too often chosen for ourselves. One day we will be entirely cleansed and wonderfully beautiful, for God Himself has promised that we will be the perfectly glorious bride of Jesus Christ.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father in Heaven, we have sinned against You. Your people have wandered into filth and lawlessness. You have spoken life into us, and yet we have been loud and rebellious in our own ugly ways. You have done for us everything necessary for peace and growth, yet we have loved other gods. We have insisted on our own desires for false worship. Please help us, O Lord. Grant to us again the spiritual wisdom that we so desperately need. Have we utterly forgotten Your kindness to us? Are we beyond rescue? We confess to You that we have looked to the world for our strength. We have vigorously searched for what idols might give to us, but we have had little energy for seeking You. We have not honored You according to Your Word. Please do not discipline us forever. Grant to us a new repentance. Why are we so foolish as to follow in the ways of those who are bound for eternal judgment? Grant that we would resist the devil. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, that we might find again true godliness with contentment, which is great gain. We cast our cares before You. Remember Your everlasting covenant with Your children. You have surely atoned for our sin through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.