The Almighty shows how terrible it was that His people did not recognize the good He had done for them. The Hebrews began having a behavior that was entirely absent of gratitude. They no longer remembered their humble beginnings, or the privilege they had been given of being a chosen people.
In the message of chapter 16 of Ezekiel, God makes a metaphor of this spiritual journey, placing Himself as the Husband of His people, who are represented by the wife. It provides details of how He found them, how He invested in them and how this union was established through a covenant. But, the Hebrew people forgot this.
They did not have a noble lineage to claim or be proud because their parents were pagans (v.3). When the Lord chose Abraham, in Ur of the Chaldeans, he was still an idolater living among corrupt people. And the city of Jerusalem was not originally founded by Hebrews, but by the pagan people of Canaan, Joshua 15.63; 2 Samuel 5.6.
The origin of the nation of Israel, represented by Jerusalem, is compared to an unwanted child, who was neglected without receiving the minimum care usually given to a newborn. The umbilical cord was not cut; it was not washed and purified; it was not rubbed with salt, as was custom to do with newborns that were dedicated to God; and it was naked (v.4). It became publicly rejected and thrown into the world, without anyone’s compassion (v.5). Death was the only thing it awaited.
The amazing story of the Most High continues. He compares Himself to a man walking through a field and hears the cry of an abandoned girl, still covered in the blood of her birth, and decides to save her life (v.6). This child represented the Hebrews, once enslaved and despised in Egypt, living in the most miserable conditions possible. If not for God, they would have been completely extinct. Once abused, now they had become special and very well cared for. There was such dedication given to them that they grew and became strong. The girl then became a beautiful young woman (v.7).
The Eternal spread His wing to cover and protect her. Thus sealing, with an oath, His marriage to her (v.8). In contrast to the misfortune Israel lived, now they were no longer in need of anything. The Hebrews received the Divine’s glory; instructions (Law of Moses); the Promised Land; dignity; protection and the guarantee of perpetual faithfulness. Her former condition of being naked and humiliated gave way to embroidered and fine clothes and the best shoes on her feet (v.9,10). They were adorned with the wealth of jewelry and nourished with the finest food (v.11-13). They became a nation with the best reputation and splendor in the world (v.14).
So, that girl, who was once rejected, became a queen. But she was not faithful to her Husband, because she thanked Him by being ungrateful and unfaithful after everything He did for her. She didn’t just commit adultery once, but assumed the position of a professional prostitute who offered herself to every man. Israel was capable of using the beauty and gifts she received from the Almighty to attract and lie with her lovers. Her corruption began with King Solomon, who married several foreign women, made pacts with pagans and enemies, and led the entire nation to idolatry (v.15-19).
The spiritual apostasy was so great that parents took the lives of their own children, as an offering to the gods, which is the ancient pagan practice of infanticide, 2 Kings 21.6; Jeremiah 7.31.
The Sovereign God identifies the cause of their downfall: their weak hearts were blinded by pride due to their accomplishments (v.30). Their pride and ungratefulness did not let them realize they were heading down a dangerous path and lost complete control of their actions.
Likewise, we must remember that, like Israel, we had no future prospects. We wandered the world until we were received and led to the most privileged position there is: children of the Most High. He healed our wounds and inner conflicts. He invested His life in ours. But every investment focuses on a return, and all He wants is for us to remain faithful to His Precepts.
Everything we received as a result of our alliance with the Almighty should be used to serve Him. Many have lived and enjoyed the Divine’s gifts, such as time, health, prosperity, good reputation, intelligence etc. But instead of using these things for Him, they use them solely for themselves.
It is possible for a person to prosper, grow and manifest an exterior spirituality without actually remain faithful within themselves. And there is no greater mistake than that caused by oneself. Israel held the title of being the chosen people, but was completely lost.
The nation fell because they did not listen to God’s warnings. The Most High is never passive when seeing His children walking towards their downfall. His rebuke is proof of His love as a Father. He does not want to have communion with us only in temples, but to walk and live with us daily, as in a marriage.
The deeper the abyss we are rescued from, the greater our faithfulness and respect should be to the One that redeemed us.
For an alliance to be maintained, a commitment is required from both parties to honor it. Violating the word given to the Most High means risking becoming completely vulnerable to evil. Israel’s unfaithfulness cost them God’s presence, their freedom, their land, the Temple and many lives.
Until there was repentance and a new covenant was formed.