Today Ezekiel 23
First the written word of God, then I will give my thoughts as I do my devotions. Perhaps you might like to join me in this study?
[23:1] The word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.  They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled.  Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
 “Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors  clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses.  She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted.  She did not give up her whoring that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her.  Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted.  These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her.
 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister.  She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.  And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way.  But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion,  wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea.  When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.  And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust.  When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister.  Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt  and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses.  Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.”
 Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side:  the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, desirable young men, governors and commanders all of them, officers and men of renown, all of them riding on horses.  And they shall come against you from the north with chariots and wagons and a host of peoples. They shall set themselves against you on every side with buckler, shield, and helmet; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.  And I will direct my jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire.  They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels.  Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.
 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust,  and they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor and leave you naked and bare, and the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring  have brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.  You have gone the way of your sister; therefore I will give her cup into your hand.  Thus says the Lord GOD:
“You shall drink your sister's cup
that is deep and large;
you shall be laughed at and held in derision,
for it contains much;
 you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.
A cup of horror and desolation,
the cup of your sister Samaria;
 you shall drink it and drain it out,
and gnaw its shards,
and tear your breasts;
for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD.  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”
 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations.  For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me.  Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths.  For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house.  They even sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments.  You sat on a stately couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil.  The sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards were brought from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of the women, and beautiful crowns on their heads.
 “Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, ‘Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her!’  For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women!  But righteous men shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.”
 For thus says the Lord GOD: “Bring up a vast host against them, and make them an object of terror and a plunder.  And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses.  Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done.  And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
(Ezekiel 23 ESV)
DevotionsToday the Lord tells Ezekiel of two sisters, Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. These sisters were promiscuous in their youth. Now these two girls became God's own. God made it clear to Ezekiel who these sisters where, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
Two nations, both God's own.
Samaria, played the prostitute, wanting to be with Assyria... loving their warriors. Oh, how she wanted them. She took up their idols and went after them with gusto. So God said ... Here you go, be with them. The Assyrians did not treat her nicely... showing her nakedness, taking her children, and then killing her.. letting her become a byword.
I had to look up what it means to become a byword and learned that it mean that "a person or thing cited as a notorious and outstanding example or embodiment of something." So Samaria became a byword for prostitution (I would think since that's what God is calling her out for).
Has me thinking, what type of byword would I be wanted to be known for?
Oholibah (Jerusalem) saw what happened with Samaria... and became even worse!!! She went the same way as Samaria but carried her actions further. Not only lusting after Assyrians warriors, but also going after the Babylonians. She displayed her lust openly, even after she turned from the Babylonians in disgust. And so the Lord God turned away from her in disgust (v18). This turning away of the Lord did not stop Jerusalem's behaviour though...in fact it got worse!
That bothers me you know... that it got worse. I suppose in some ways it makes sense, if someone turns away from you for something you are doing, that in defiance and hurt you would do it all the more, but I don't get the sense here. Here it just seems like "ah, freedom, no obligation, let's really really just do what we want." It just makes me feel so sad.
The Lord God's response was this "he would stir up all those nations she wanted, those she lusted after the Babylonians, the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, Koa, Assyrians and all the rest. They shall come upon her with all their warriors and execute judgement upon her. God's jealousy and fury will be spent upon her. God's aim: to put an end to her lewdness and prostitution.
He will do this because of how she had behaved.
Jerusalem, in it's wanting of other lands and nations has forgotten who the Lord God is, and has to bear the consequences of her actions.
Having spoken all this, God lays a charge on Ezekiel. “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations."
- committed adultery
- killed their children on behalf of their idols
- defiled his sanctuary
- profaned the Sabbath
And so God will bring it all to an end. Letting them bear the penalty for their actions.
I read these words and realize how deadly serious God is.
He is not to be mocked or profaned.
He waits for his people to remember him, but when they go too far, he acts.
The righteous judge the wrongdoers.
It makes me so aware of my own weakness, my own failures, my lusts of the spirit and flesh. It minds me to be more mindful of my thoughts and desires.
I would not want to bear the consequences I've realized. Can you imagine the very thing you are longing for being turned against you? That's what happened with Jerusalem and Samaria. They forgot the Lord as they chased after their desires.
Let me NOT forget the Lord.
That is my prayer today... that I not forget him in my pursuit of anything here. He is more important. ALWAYS.