A Picture of Forgiveness

Ezekiel 16:62-63 “‘Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you all that you have done,’ the Lord God declares.”

Observation: Ezekiel recounts Israel’s history by describing her as a woman who began life precariously as an abandoned baby, but God found her and adopted her as His own. As she grew He adorned her with unparalleled beauty, yet, she scorned Him and became a harlot, giving herself to all sorts of abominable pursuits, leading to her defeat and judgment. Finally the cycle is completed after her repentance and God’s redemption.

Application: It is both winsome and compelling that God uses the metaphor of a woman’s life to describe His beloved Israel. Much loved as she grew, she later abandoned Him in adultery. 

The profoundly appealing thing about this metaphor is how well we can understand it. Who among us, having once experienced the marriage bed, cannot relate to the perfect oneness found there? The sublime completion that comes from such intimacy is unmatched among life’s experiences and therefore perfectly illustrates the depth of commitment God has to His beloved. Tellingly, this is the same metaphor we are left with at the end of the Book, when human history consummates with another wedding, when the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world will become my husband, and I His bride. 

That perfect union for which all the earth groans will be my vantage point from where I can look back and finally understand all He has done for me. Speaking of Israel’s restoration to God, Ezekiel writes, “I will establish My covenant with you and you shall know that I am the Lord.” He goes on to say that they will then be able to understand all they have been forgiven and because of that, they will never again speak against another. So it is with me. Perfect intimacy with Him radically changes my emotional chemistry, making repugnant my tendency to cling to “my rights,” “my accomplishments.” What He then substitutes, as those things are surrendered, is a clearer vision of Him, which causes me to fall upon my face before His beauty and majesty.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, that’s all You want, isn’t it? You are after voluntary lovers for whom perfect intimacy matters more than any accomplishment. Change my emotional chemistry, Lord, so everything in my life falls into divine order. Cause me to lay aside everything to pursue You above all else.

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