This morning’s passage is Ezekiel 15 & 16

Ezekiel 15 and 16 paints a picture of what life without God would be like. In Chapter 15 Ezekiel describes Jerusalem and Judah as the vines that grow in the forest. The vine is already a useless piece of wood. It is not used for making utensils or pegs for hanging clothes. When it is gathered for burning it is of even less value. Ezekiel was saying that Israel, Judah, Jerusalem was only special because of what God had done for her.

The beauty of the Dark Hedges is not because of how they have been cultivated but because of how nature has shaped them. We should never forget our beauty is not because of anything we have done, but because of what God has done for us.

In chapter 16 we are given a description of how God had taken Israel, given birth to her, cleaned her, clothed and nurtured her. God loved her and gave her a solemn covenant with her – a marriage if you like where he promised to be her God and she promised to be his bride. His people.

As the chapter progresses, we are presented with Judah’s unfaithfulness. It started when she began to trust in her own beauty; in that thing that made her special and different to everyone else. She forgot that her beauty was only because God bestowed that beauty on her. The more she trusted in her beauty, so she started to use that beauty to chase after other lovers. Her dependence on God was replaced with a dependence on other nations.

Moneydig Elders

She used all the good things God had given her to buy protection from other places. The more she turned to these other places the more it cost her – the price increased. Suddenly her protection cost more than her beauty and so she started to sell her wealth, the treasures that had at one time been devoted to God, were given to others.

Ezekiel describes this betrayal as adultery and as the betrayal increases so he describes it as prostitution. As the betrayal deepens even further so he describes Judah and Jerusalem not as a prostitute but as one who must pay to be with her lovers. Such is her desperation, so far is she from God that she pays for the affection, the attention or just to be noticed by others.

Have we stopped to consider what life without God would be like or is like? Have we stopped to consider the lengths we go to find satisfaction, to be noticed, to be loved? In our search to find love and meaning have we stopped to look back on what we have lost; given up; turned away from.

God gave us everything and what have we done with it? How are we enjoying life without God?

Ezekiel story is not a horror story because it does not end by simply shining a light on what we once had or what we might have become. Chapter 16 ends with some incredible words.

Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done…

Ezekiel 16:63

Notice God does not say when you make atonement, but when I make atonement. Even though God has already given us everything, still he gave us more. His only son, Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection the atonement for my sin and yours. The hope that all the chasing after other gods; people; love’ attention; acceptance would come to an end, because once again we would find our peace in the presence of God.

There does not have to be life without God. God has given his life that we would know life with God.

Prayer Father, as I read your description of Jerusalem and her sins so I am made all too aware of the pain I have inflicted on you through my sin, my running after other things, other gods. Forgive me Lord, cleanse me and atone for me through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – but more than that turn my heart only to you. Guard my heart that it would only seek after you, that it would only find love and peace in you. Amen

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