August 31 (Daily reading: Ezekiel 16-17) The harsh language of chapter 16 might make us dismiss it as irrelevant to our situation. Surely, we are not guilty of harlotry as God described it to Ezekiel! But as I read, I had a thought: “What have I done with all that God has given me?” I think there is a lesson for us if we seek the answer to that question.
God’s point was that He had taken Jerusalem when she had nothing, when she had been “thrown out into the open field,” and when she was “naked and bare” (16:5, 7). This describes our lives before we became a “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17, NIV). We were sinners, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Paul also reminded us: “You were dead in your transgressions and sins … separate from Christ … without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:1, 12).
After God had covered Jerusalem’s nakedness, He said, “I entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine” (16:8). God gave her ornaments and clothing so that she was beautiful to all the nations. And even more significantly, she belonged to God! This is called grace! For each of the reminders above that we are sinners, grace has the answer! “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). “God…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5). Our personal relationship with Christ brings us into a covenant relationship with God that is by grace and not by works. “This is the new covenant…I will write (my laws) on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Heb. 8:10, quoting Jer. 31:33).
– Al Gary