– Roshni Mathew
It is never easy to cope with betrayal. It hurts.
This morning, as part of my daily Bible reading (which is a part of my Church Community’s bible reading plan), I read Ezekiel 16. The book of Ezekiel captures God’s words to his beloved nation of Israel during the time they were captured by another country and sent into exile.
Ezekiel captures the heart of God’s deep yearning and desire for his beloved Israel.
Today’s chapter used the graphic imagery of a child, who without being washed or cleansed at birth, was thrown out in an open field. God, who is seen as a passer-by, sees this child and says “Live”. Later, as a child who had matured, God makes this child his own, using the imagery of a man taking this once despised child to be his bride. God says (in verses 9 to 13) that he washed this woman and cleansed her, bathed her and gave her clothes and ornaments to wear. He fed her finest of food, so much so that she becomes very beautiful and rose to be queen. So fine was her beauty, her fame spread.
This is the type of love story we’d all love to be a part of, wouldn’t we? I love makeovers, because it gives me hope of change and being redeemed from being fallen. It gives me hope that someone so despised and rejected is made queen!
But this beautiful queen goes and offers herself to other men, and behaves in a manner worse than a prostitute; she pays men to sleep with her, rather than the other way around. God, the man who bought her and made her his wife, is broken and says, “You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband!”
God later goes on to punish her by gathering all her past and present lovers to turn against her. He says, he will put an end to her prostitution, and then will His anger subside.
Even though she forgot the days of her youth (and what He had done for her), God says “I will remember the covenant I made with you in the says of your youth and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”
As I finished doing my community bible reading, gripped by the imagery, a couple of things stood out to me.
I hate being rejected, laughed at, and despised. I don’t like being ridiculed. I hate being betrayed by anyone. When someone doesn’t take my side, or isn’t loyal to me, it hurts.
But here is a man, who looked at me, born as a sinful baby, with no hope of survival on my own, who didn’t know it yet, but was so filthy that even my exterior cute and cuddly self couldn’t save me. Jesus looked at me and said “live”. He enabled me to be cleaned through the sacrifice of his own precious blood. He didn’t forget me, not once, not little, not at all.
But here I am, staring at these poignant words remembering that I have forgotten the days of my youth. I have forgotten the extent of filth God has saved me from. I have forgotten that this beauty that I have inside of me is not my own, but from Jesus, a man who was willing to be scorned and called ugly to be rejected, so God could call me His own and give me His son’s identity.
“Remembering the days of my youth” helps me stay loyal, focussed, and free from fear, because reminding myself of who God is sometimes is the only defence to what I maybe experiencing.
Now, I realize that nothing, no person, no job, no amount of money, ambition, talent or skill, gives me life, but the breath of God who looked at me and said “Live” and loved me to the point that He was willing to let His son Jesus, die, for me.