Ezekiel addresses the capital cities of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. One judgment is past, the other is coming. The judgment of Samaria had already taken place, and the judgment of Jerusalem was just around the corner. Ezekiel likens these two cities to sisters, after all, they are blood-related, but the main reason he call them sisters is because of their similar behavior, they both rebelled against God in an epic way.
Ezekiel gave them new names. Samaria he named Oholah, which means “Her own Tabernacle,” for their first King, Jeroboam, created their own religion in the worship of the calf, which was only a rendition from the land of Egypt.
Jerusalem he named Oholibah with means “My Tabernacle is in her.” Jerusalem had the Temple and the truth of God, but tragically she did not follow the Lord, it was downgraded to religion, and she was eventually swept away in her sins.
Oholah was taken away by the Assyians in 722 B.C..
Oholibah would be taken away by the Babylonians in 586 B.C..
It’s heartbreaking to read of how the Assyrian cut off their noses, and cut off their ears (Ezekiel 23:25). This was the way they treated those whom they allowed to live, those whom they would carry away captive. The Assyrians were a vicious people.
You would figure that Jerusalem would have learned her lesson from what happened to her sister, but she didn’t. She also committed adultery, and her sins were even worse!
It’s interesting how both of these “gals” lusted after the things of the world (Ezekiel 23:5, 11). Pastor Chuck commented on this, “…we too can be attracted to evil in the world. And sometimes God will give it to us so we can discover how awful it really is.”
God would deal with His people. He began to alienate Himself from them (Ezekiel 23:18), He began to stir up those wicked people they “loved” to come against them.
Ezekiel 23:22 (NKJV) “Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you, from whom you have alienated yourself, and I will bring them against you from every side.”
With all that’s going on in our lives, and all the temptations to sin, it’s unfortunately very easy to forget God. That’s what happened in Jerusalem…and they paid the price.
Ezekiel 23:35 (NKJV) “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.’”
If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. If he can’t deceive you, he’ll distract you. Next think you know, you’ve forgotten God in the midst of the ministry, and the realm of religion.
Their hypocrisy was so bad, that in the morning they would go and sacrifice their children to Molech, and then mosey on over to the Temple and offer their worship to the LORD, “on the same day!”
Ezekiel 23:39 (NKJV) “For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.”
God is patient and long-suffering…but He will not strive with us forever. In His holy love He will chasten us, that we may know He is the Lord (Ezekiel 23:49).
Warren Wiersbe, “In the end, our sins punish us, and we learn afresh that He is the Lord (Ezekiel 23:49). God wants single-hearted devotion from His bride (2 Corinthians 11:1–4; James 4:1–10).”
If you’re a Christian, you are now welcomed into the full-on special presence of God. I’ve always been blessed by the fact that when Jesus died, the veil that separated us from God, was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38). The moment Jesus died He made a way into the Holiest of All for all believers. Let’s keep going to Him in prayer and in fellowship, let’s be faithful in church attendance. In Hebrews 10:25 the writer exhorts us to not stop the assembly of the saints, on the contrary we are to gather together and encourage one another! Yes, God will bless you when you go, but that’s not all, God wants to bless others through you. Approach people, meet new brothers and sisters, pray for them, stir them up to love and good works. How awesome it is when God’s people go to church service not just to “get” but also to give!
What a heavy warning Hebrews 10:26-31 is, and what about Hebrews 10:38!
Ponder these things – a warning to those who:
1. Have trampled the Son of God underfoot.
2. Have counted the blood of the covenant – BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED – common.
3. Have insulted the Spirit of grace.
4. Have drawn back (drifted away – Hebrews 2:1) (no longer live by faith)
Listen to God’s warning:
Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV) “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
The chapter closes with a heavy injunction – friend, may we never draw back from the faith, please don’t ever stop believing in Jesus. Pastor Sandy Adams put it this way, “To be saved you must not only have faith, you must continue in that faith. Draw back from Jesus and you forfeit God’s favor.”
This Psalm of David is one of the most detailed imprecatory Psalms that we have.
David’s heart is wounded within him (Psalm 109:22), the mouth of the wicked has spoken against him, and others are believing those lies. I’ve always loved David’s words in:
Psalm 109:4 (NKJV) “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “When people have lied about you, spoken hatefully to you, and rewarded you evil for good, you would benefit from reading this psalm. When your heart is wounded within (Psalm 109:22) and there is no way to set the record straight, take it to the Lord and tell Him how you feel.”
David prayed for justice. He prayed that God would deal harshly with his accuser, and his accuser’s children, that God would remember their sins, that they’d reap what they’d sown.
It’s okay to tell God your heart, to share how you feel, but Jesus has also commanded us to do something very different than David.
Bless those who curse you.
Do good to those who hate you.
Pray for those who treat you miserably.
Love your enemies.
Matthew 5:43–44 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
David gave himself to prayer, but not for his enemies, he prayed against them. This is a temptation we must resist!
Romans 12:21 (NKJV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
As God’s children we can echo David’s closing words with confidence:
Psalm 109:30–31 (NKJV) “I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yes, I will praise Him among the multitude. 31 For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn him.
Amen. Thank You Jesus!
Proverbs 27:13 (NKJV) “Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress.”
This principle is also seen also in Proverbs 6:1-5 and Proverbs 20:16.
The New Living Translation puts it this way:
Proverbs 27:13 (NLT) “Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.”
Bible Knowledge Commentary sheds light, “A debtor’s outer garment could be taken by a creditor as collateral to guarantee that the debtor would pay (Exodus 22:26). Here a creditor is commanded to take the garment of a person who co-signs for a stranger, especially if the stranger is a wayward woman.”
How we need wisdom with our finances, for in all reality, they’re God’s finances; we’ll see more at the end of the chapter, and much in the book of Proverbs.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.