Session 6: Ezekiel 16-24
This session covers the most poignant element of Ezekiel’s prophecies about people’s idolatry and disregard for God’s will. Their unfaithfulness is portrayed as adultery and prostitution. We also find a glimmer of hope that God will eventually restore his people and show grace to the repentant. (Remember, the Bible is rated R. Some themes in this segment may be inappropriate for young audiences.)
- Play: Session 6 Video
This is the most poignant element of Ezekiel’s prophecies about the people’s idolatry and disregard for God’s will. Their unfaithfulness is portrayed as adultery and prostitution.
In Ezekiel 16, the story of God’s selection and provision for the people of Israel is described as a marriage. God, as a husband, generously expressed love for his wife, the people of Israel. But the very gifts given to her were used to pay her lovers as a prostitute. Ironically these lovers are the historic enemies of God’s people such as the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and Babylonians. During this period of time, the leaders in Jerusalem allied with Egypt to try to free themselves from Babylonian oppression, rather than turning to God as their Savior.
In the midst of this grim scene, Ezekiel 17-18 gives a glimmer of hope that God will eventually restore his people and show grace to the repentant. But until that time, his discipline will be applied to his people.
In Ezekiel 23, imagery similar to Ezekiel 16 is used to describe the unfaithfulness of God’s people. In this case it is two adulterous sisters. The reason there is two here instead of one is because there had been an earlier split among the people of Israel. But even though they have gone their separate ways, they have a lot in common regarding their unfaithfulness.
This section ends with the sober words that Ezekiel’s wife dies and he will not prophecy anymore to the people of Israel until the destruction of Jerusalem is completed.
All of this is uncomfortable to read and apply to ourselves. But it shows us the passionate love and commitment that God has for his people. If we have a humble heart toward him, we can see these strong words as an invitation to become faithful to him since he is always faithful to us.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
- Unfaithfulness to God being portrayed as adultery and prostitution is striking. Have you ever thought of your own sin in these terms?
- What sorts of thoughts and feelings does it prompt in you to think of sin in this way?
- Though Israel’s, and our own, unfaithfulness is tragic, God promises to receive his people back to a loving relationship with himself. How can you demonstrate more faithfulness to God?
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