Today is June 7, 2007, a famous day in world history. It has been 40 years to the day (June 7, 1967 via the “Six Day War”) since G-d allowed all of Jerusalem to be united under Israeli control. And it is this event that paints a beautiful picture of G-d’s grace and faithfulness to His people, both Jew and Gentile.
We discover these truths in Ezekiel 16. In verses 1-5, the L-RD told Ezekiel to confront Jerusalem. He tells Ezekiel to write that there was nothing special about this city that drew Him to her. In fact, the details given of her birth (by unbelieving Amorite and Hittite parents) would lead us to reject her and want nothing to do with her, let alone someone with whom G-d would want a relationship.
Yet in verses 6-15, it was the L-RD who told her to grow. It was the L-RD who spread the corner of His garment over her (a sign that she was now covered by His authority) to cover her nakedness. It was the L-RD who washed and clothed Jerusalem and adorned her with rich clothes and jewelry (not the costume stuff either!).
Why did the L-RD do any of this? Grace. Nothing in this passage talks about how great she was, or how obedient she was or even how desirable she was. There wasn’t anything special about Jerusalem that deserved G-d’s attention, let alone His love.
It is the same with believers in Yeshua today. We didn’t deserve to have G-d love us. There was nothing special about us that screamed out, “Look at me G-d! I’m somebody that You should know and love.” No– we were just like Jerusalem – a naked, bloody mess. Yet G-d through the blood of Yeshua drew us near, cleaned us up, clothed us and gave us a special place in His heart.
Our relationship with G-d is based upon His grace and continues by His grace, which leads into the second truth from Ezekiel 16 – G-d’s faithfulness. From verse 15 all the way to verse 58 God records how unfaithful Jerusalem had been. And it is not a pretty picture either. You can read the passage for yourself, but suffice it to say, Jerusalem’s behavior was bad enough to be compared to Sodom and was worse than Samaria!
But in verse 60, Ezekiel records a remarkable statement given to him by the L-RD. “Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth.” Did she do anything to get the L-RD to turn His eyes back to her? No. It is purely and simply G-d’s faithfulness to His word that leads Him to remember her. Nowhere in the passage does it say that Jerusalem repents and returns to G-d. G-d brings her back simply because He is faithful to His Word. He is faithful even when we are faithless.
This is good news for believers today. G-d wants a relationship with His children, even when they behave badly. This is how faithful His love towards us is. Please don’t believe me to say, however, that we can go on sinning and nothing will happen to us because G-d is faithful. No, quite the opposite is true. We have freedom of choice, but not in consequences. Jerusalem sinned and G-d corrected her (vs. 54 – “bear your disgrace and be ashamed”). But G-d made a deal, a covenant with Jerusalem, which He had to keep, just as He made a promise to give us eternal life because our faith is in Yeshua.
This faithfulness should pull us back into His arms because they are always open to us. His faithfulness should cause us to quickly repent from our sin and turn around to look into His loving eyes that say, “I love you. I believe in you. I accept you as you are while I’m taking you to where I want you to go in life.”
This day when we celebrate the return of Jerusalem to Israeli control, let us be reminded of G-d’s grace and faithfulness towards us. Yes, Israel fought and won the “Six Day War”, but if you look at the details of that war, you’d have to agree with me that it was G-d who brought about this victory. It was because of His grace and faithfulness to His word that Israel won that war despite the tremendous odds she faced. And it is G-d’s grace and faithfulness to His word that grants us victory today despite the tremendous challenges that we face.
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