Saturday, March 9, 2019

March 9 - Ezekiel 23

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ezekiel 23. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • God presents two symbolic sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, representing the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Oholah and Oholibah are both graphically described as adulterers who gave themselves up to other kingdoms. Their adultery starts in Egypt and works its way to Assyria and eventually the Chaldeans. 
  • Oholah's story (aka Israel) is brought to light first. It is said that she lusted after the Assyrians and gave herself up to them. Since Oholah wanted to be with the Assyrians so badly, God decides to give Oholah up to the Assyrians, and they eventually destroy her.
  • Oholibah (Judah) is described next. Oholibah saw what her sister had done and the harm that it caused her but she still decided to follow in her older sister's footsteps and lust after the Assyrians as well. Oholibah actually takes it a step further and begins to lust after the Chaldeans and the Babylonians. It's described that she sleeps with them continually and defiles herself. In response, God says that He will stir all of the lovers up, Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Assyrians, and use them to defeat her.
  • The chapter ends by saying that all of this will be done so that the people know God is the real God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Ezekiel purposefully used graphic language while describing Oholah and Oholibah's evil actions in order to shock his listeners. The people (Judean captives) he was trying to speak to were incredibly stubborn so the strong language was an attempt to wake them up and hopefully persuade them to acknowledge their wrongdoings and repent.
  • Oholah and Oholibah as already mentioned, represented the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. At the time that Ezekiel was giving this message, Israel had already been defeated by the Assyrians one-hundred years prior and Judah was in the works of being completely defeated by Babylon. Israel's sins against God were evil but Judah's sins were even worse because they watched Israel get completely destroyed, and then decided to follow in their exact same footsteps.
  • The lust and adultery that both sisters participated in symbolized both Israel and Judah's involvement in other kingdoms' idols. God purposefully set Israel and Judah apart so they could worship Him and be a symbol to other nations of what it looked like to live a God-filled life. Instead, Israel and Judah both turned themselves over to fake gods and decided to worship those instead. After years of continued warning and continued rejection, God allows them to be punished and uses the kingdoms they loved so much to be the ones to defeat them.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

Do you continue falling into the same sin over and over again? Making the same mistakes and not feeling like there's any way to fix it? Breaking an unhealthy habit can be really hard but it's possible if you're willing to turn to God and seek him. Asking for help from others is also a really smart step in breaking from the past. Consider coming to Restore at Verve to talk with others and get some healing. More info at https://vivalaverve.org/restore/ if interested.