Through Ezekiel, God reviews His relationship with Jerusalem. He took the nation in its infancy to be His own. He blessed it with gifts through the years until enough time had elapsed for the nation to reach and choose the true God over the false gods of the peoples around them. Instead of choosing to serve the Lord, Jehovah, faithfully, Jerusalem "played the harlot" with the pagan nations--Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldea (Ezk. 16). As we might expect from Ezekiel, a strong condemnation follows.
God describes some of the gifts He gave to the nation: "I clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet...I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown upon your head" (vss. 10-12). Judah was a beautiful woman among the nations. God had blessed her richly.
As the passage continues we discover that Judah did not use the gifts properly. "You took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors and played the harlot on them...You also took your beautiful jewels made of My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them. Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered My oil and My incense before them. Also My bread which I gave you, fine flour, oil and honey with which I fed you, you would offer before them for a soothing aroma..." (vss. 15-19).
Notice that God says these Jews took His gold and silver, His oil and incense and used them inappropriately. These people thought their possessions were entirely their own, objects they could use according to their own whims. Can you imagine someone making an idol form the gold God gave them? Think of the ingratitude, the defiance, and the contempt involved when God's people used His gifts in this way. It is little wonder, then, tht God's judgment was against them. He says, "I will... strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare" (vs. 39).
What Does This Have To Do With Me And You? -- Would anyone deny that God has richly blessed us? Surely, each of us would acknowledge that we have received an abundance of blessings. As James says, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights" (Jas. 1: 17). We have clothes to wear, food to eat, and houses to live in. We can afford jewelry, shoes, manicures, and pedicures. We have cars to drive, televisions to watch, and computers to work for us and entertain us. We have a basement or garage full of recreational equipment -- golf clubs, hunting and fishing equipment, boats, balls, bats, gloves, and bikes. Some have enough money to take summer trips or buy a house on the lake or join a country club, etc. Indeed, the Lord has given us far more than we need.
But have we used His gifts in a way that pleases Him? Would He say to us something similar to what He said to Judah through Ezekiel? Remember, they took His silver and gold and made idols. What have we done with the silver and gold with which He has blessed us? Would He say something like this, "You took My money, you paid for movies that were full of language that profaned My name and lewdness and nakedness. With My gifts you bought music that glorified ungodliness. You bought pornography with My silver and My gold. You ruined your lives with drugs and alcohol with My gifts to you. You spent to satisfy your own greed and to fill your own houses with things, but you gave no thought to filling the mouths of the hungry or clothing the needy. Your closets are full of clothes, your garages are full of automobiles, you basements are full of playthings, but I am not found in your heart"?
How Are You Using God's Gifts? -- Imagine a father giving his son some spending money only to discover he used that money for something immoral. Would the father be pleased? Neither is our Father in Heaven pleased when His people use the gifts He gives them for ungodly things. Judah suffered God's judgment because they used His gifts inappropriately. Do we think we will escape God's judgment when we do the same thing? The next time we spend money on entertainment or buy a novel or clothes or download something from the Internet -- think about whether God would be pleased with us using His money in that way. Maybe it will help us avoid a serious mistake.
By Bob Hutto in Biblical Insights, Vol. 10, No. 2, Feb. 2010.
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