By Lisa Huddleston
“But 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 16:60)
I recently wrote a glowing report about the unusual amount of rain that has generously watered the area in which I live. I likened the rain to the blessings of God honestly declaring that we should “remember with each drop that falls that it is God who waters our land and also our hearts.” Well, it’s a good thing I have that in writing, because this morning all I could see were mosquitos. Yeah. The little blood-suckers were everywhere doing their utmost to drain me of my joy in the summer rains. I was irritated, itchy, and bumpy, and to top off my perfect attitude, my daily Bible reading for the past four days had come from the book of Ezekiel. Not exactly a pick-me-up, if you know what I mean. Man, talk about depressing. At least I was feeling that way as I dutifully sat down with my Bible—at the kitchen table instead of on my lovely back porch where I wanted to be but couldn’t be because of all the buzzing vampires waiting to attack … but I digress. Anyway, I sat down and opened my Bible to Ezekiel 16. I took a deep breath and started reading, not expecting much, but at least making some progress through this mournful prophet.
Wonder of wonders—truth started to drown out my buzzing annoyance. As Ezekiel tells it, God found Jerusalem in a terrible condition. She was an abandoned newborn, unwashed and lying in the mess of her own birth. She was utterly helpless, filthy, despised, and, I can imagine, screaming her head off. But God cared for her. He passed by and saw her. He said, “Live!” He made her thrive. He spread the edge of His garment over her and covered her nakedness. He pledged Himself to her. He entered a covenant with her and made her His very own. He washed her, clothed her in embroidered cloth and leather sandals, and wrapped her in silk and fine linen. He gave her gold and silver jewelry—bracelets, necklaces, nose rings, earrings, and even a tiara! He made her beauty and splendor perfect, and she grew famous because of His gifts. (Ezekiel 16:1-14) And how did she thank Him? She became self-confident, trusting in the gifts rather than the Giver, until she forgot who she was, where she had been, and how she had been redeemed. But God did not forget. In spite of her shame, her shocking prostitution, her using His gifts to romance other gods, and her complete exposure in humiliation, God remembered His covenant with His bride and promised atonement.
I needed to read these words today. I have made some great discoveries in recent months and have been given some good opportunities to use the gifts God gave me. My confidence was growing and just maybe the pendulum had swung a little too far to the cocky side. But I received some humbling yesterday and was wallowing in doubt and insecurity as I open the Book this morning. Familiar demons were buzzing in my ears and stinging me like the mosquitos impatiently waiting on my porch. They had almost made me forget who my Benefactor is, and for a while I had been lost in self-pity and despair. But Ezekiel reminded me. I am His bride. He has cared for me tenderly and gifted me in ways I could never deserve. Red-faced and lying in my own filth, God picked me up this morning, wiped away my tears and the bloody excrement of self-loathing … and set a crown on my head. Oh, I remember, Lord. And that memory floods my heart with thanksgiving washing away the stagnant breeding ground of pesky demons and stirring me to try again.
“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.” –Edward Mote, 1797-1874