On the day she was born, she was left to die in a field. She was still covered in blood from her birth and her umbilical cord wasn’t cut. As he passed by, he noticed her. He was moved to help her and spoke words of truth over her life and told her to “Live!” He helped her to flourish and she began to grow into a beautiful woman and when the time came, he took her as his wife. He made her a promise that she would always be his, so he loved her and gave her all the riches he had to offer. She stood out among other women, wearing the finest clothing, jewelry and shoes. She wore gold and silver around her neck and arms. Her table was filled with the finest foods, helping her to grow more and more beautiful still. She was fit for royalty. Her beauty made her well-known around the world and it was obvious that she was dearly loved.
But she trusted her beauty and exploited her fame. Her eyes began to wander to other men, many other men. She took off the gold and silver given to her and traded them in for nakedness. She used the wardrobe of fancy clothing he had given her to make tents to prostitute herself in. Her appetite for others was insatiable. Any man would do and she would find herself captivating their hearts, even if just for a moment.
She never took time to ponder her lifeless body lying in that field. It was not even a distant memory. She forgot the one who held her close and nursed her back to health, that one who blessed her and adorned her with the life of royalty. He was grieved and asked her to come back, but she wanted other men. Any other man would do. His heart was broken; this one who had given her his best. He had committed to her and made an unquenchable promise to love.
Over time, she began to feel the wrath of his anger. After patiently awaiting her return, he finally spoke. “I will take your fine clothing, adornments and food. I will bring you before all of your lovers and they will turn on you. Those you once seduced and held close will watch you crumble in defeat, because instead of holding me close to your heart, you chose to find satisfaction in them. You will feel shame and everyone who sees you will laugh at what you’ve become.
But I still remember the day I promised to love you.
It will take years, but one day your children will remember me too. In time, they will look back at all I’ve done for you and they will choose to love me. And because I remember the promise I made to you, I will forgive all that you’ve done. All of the years you chose satisfaction in other men, all of the years you made a fool of me, and all of the times I asked you to come back will be forgiven, because I made you that promise. One day, your children will look at me with tearful eyes and hearts full of shame and they will feel the weight of your sin. Only then, will your family be forgiven for what you’ve done. And I will stand with open arms, ready to forgive, because one day long ago, I made you a promise.”
She is Israel, God’s chosen people whom he dearly loves. They are the story of the Old Testament. It is one full of victory as well as defeat. They chose to love him conditionally and found satisfaction in man-made idols, rather than in the one who helped them win battles and defeat armies much greater than themselves. God had made a covenant promise with Israel to forgive their people and heal their land and to preserve a remnant who He would forgive. He would even choose to bring his own Son through their line and graciously bring forgiveness not just to them, but to the Gentiles (that’s us, if you’re not of Jewish descent) through him.
This story was paraphrased and inspired by my reading of Ezekiel 16. I was honestly moved to tears in writing it. There is something about putting yourself into a story that makes it so much more real. I felt the weight of my sin and the rejection God must feel when we “prostitute” ourselves to any and everything else instead of surrendering wholly to Him.