Ezekiel 15-16
(New Covenant)
August 28th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

“I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

- Ezekiel 16:59-60 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

These chapters continue the response to the exiles’ false optimism. In this group the LORD explains through Ezekiel that the nation and its leaders had sinned, and would face consequences. However, there was hope for those who remained righteous and for those who repent. In chapter 15, the LORD compares Israel to a useless vine in the forest that is good for nothing but fuel in the fire.

In chapter 16, the LORD tells Ezekiel to explain to the people their mistaken course of life by comparing the nation to the life of a person. The LORD tells the story of how he found Jerusalem as a baby that no one wanted. He cared for her and dressed her in clothes and fine jewelry. But she used her beauty to engage in the profession of a harlot, and turned her jewelry into false idols. Then she gave up her children as food for these fake gods.

It got even worse, as the person of Jerusalem offered herself to all her neighboring countries in such a wanton way that even the pagans were aghast. She was so bad and desperate that she even paid others to be with her. As a punishment, the LORD said he would turn her “lovers” against her. The LORD compared her to her sisters, Sodom and Samaria (the northern kingdom), noting that though they were evil, they seem righteous compared to Jerusalem.

After all those convicting statements the LORD says he will punish Jerusalem, but also give her an opportunity to repent.

Reflection and Application

While the LORD is seeking to dampen false optimism, he does want to assure the exiles that there is hope. The opportunity to repent may not have been emphasized much in many of the books of the Old Testament, but it is crystal clear here, and is re-emphasized in the New Testament.

We all have an opportunity to repent – we just need to accept the offer. God’s love is always extended to us, waiting for us to to take hold and feel secure in the unlimited depth of his love and forgiveness, as vast and deep as the ocean -- even more so. If we don’t feel we need to repent, we should be aware that we are just one step away from stepping off the path at any time, and may need to take up the LORD on that offer at some point in the future.

There may be two covenants that the LORD is referring to in verses 16:59-60. One is with Abraham (made in Jerusalem’s youth), to whom he promised many descendents and the land of Canaan: “ ‘To your offspring I will give this land’ (Gen 12:7 - NIV).” The other is with Moses and the people who escaped Egypt. This was a promise for protection and prosperity, as long as they obeyed.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. In what situations have you been misled by a sense of false optimism?
    2. How can we describe to our friends the difference between false optimism based on human perception and true hope based on faith in God?
    3. How can we effectively spread the message of God’s long-standing offer of repentance?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we believe that the love of your big heart is deep enough to save us. Help us to accept your heart in our heart.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Oceanfront residents facing big storms

    Looking Ahead
    Tomorrow's reading: Ezekiel 17-19 (Parable of the Eagle and the Cedar)

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