"And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Ezekiel 16:4-6
Blood is a pretty common topic in the Bible; from the sacrifices in the Old Testament to the cross of Christ, blood is spoken of often. As I was reading through the book of Ezekiel and this chapter, the phrase, “in your blood,” kept jumping out at me. And just to drive this point home, I had an accident from my monthly “visitor.” Which as any woman knows, is disgusting and messy. Sorry to be graphic, but the topic of blood just is that kind of topic, there’s nothing clean about it.
If you think of someone covered in blood, your first instinct is not to embrace but to back away and flee the mess or any kind of contamination. God is showing a visual picture of what we appeared like to Him. No one else saw anything in us of value and discarded and left to fend for ourselves. The blood that covered us represents all our sins, every wicked thought and deed we would be ashamed to even have spoken aloud. But God says, I saw you in your blood. You were exposed to my sight. Our sins are open to His eye continually.
But here is where the narrative takes an unexpected turn. “I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’” Not die! Not be seen as a wasted life, or a lost cause, or as too defiled. But live, for I have said you shall live. This is what the Lord says. As vivid as the picture of blood and sin is, so The Lord’s tender care of us is so astounding. He saw me in my blood – my sins and my God chose me while in that state and took me as His own, His own bride. Not just as a servant like a little orphan girl He picked up and giving some charity to, but the one He wanted to lavish His love upon....
“I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare. “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God. Ezekiel 16:7-14
When God wants to convey His most tender love towards us, He uses the picture of a bride. There is such a different intimacy here than when He reveals Himself as Father. A husband is where we are supposed to be our most vulnerable. Everything is supposed to be exposed, our hearts of love, our dreams, our fears, even our bodies and to rest in that acceptance, care and love of this one man. This is what I still long for, to have my own husband and experience a fraction of this intimacy that is so unique. And God knows this too; it’s why He gives it to me and to you through Himself. He saw me at my worst, in my blood and yet chooses me to bless me. He shall lavish you with good gifts. God doesn’t give a potato sack to clothe her, He gives embroidered cloth and fine leather shoes. He doesn’t look for the cheapest stuff and consider that good enough. No, He showers with silks, rings, earrings and even a crown for the one He loves.
Now anyone who knows me, knows I am not a stuff kind of person, I don’t like shopping unless it’s for a purpose, I don’t have a bunch of jewelry, clothes, collections and stuff. But there is something inside all of us, that when a man gives you the very best to bless you, you feel valued. We deserve none of it and when someone chooses to give you more than you deserve because they love you, love pours out in return in gratitude. And that’s who our God is; we love Him, because He first loved us.
The rest of the chapter speaks of Israel’s rebellion to their God, but I can also see my own guilt there too. Yikes, this picture is harsh.
“But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be. You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord God. And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood. Ezekiel 16:15-22
For me, these are the years after I became a Christian and backsliding that should have belonged to my God, my bridegroom. It is a picture of betrayal and breaking the Lord’s heart. I wasted so many years in my own pride and sin. So many regrets and things to be ashamed of, that it could cripple me for years if I allowed it to. I treated God just like Israel did. After all He had done for me and gave me, I spent it on my own lusts. How foolish we can be at times to turn away from the goodness of the Lord, whether it is for years or for a single day. Just like Israel, we are deserving of all the judgment God was going to pour out.
But again our God shows His great mercy and love towards us.
“Yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant… I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded…, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 16:60, 62-63
When Jesus atoned for all that I had done, whether it was 20 years ago or this morning, it was a fulfillment of this word. We will be and are confounded by God’s sacrifice, His acceptance and tender love of us in spite of our sin. And it is because we are no longer in our blood that is polluted with sin, but are covered in Christ’s blood that is a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Father. Christian remember this, if God so cared for you in your blood and clothed you and elevated you as royalty, how much more shall He accept and love you now that the Son’s blood covers you and you are bound to Him for all eternity? Those things we are still ashamed of, take to the Lord who has seen you at your very worst and worse than you think it is and accept His embrace and goodness towards you. Re-read verses 7 to 14, that’s how He relates to you. When your heart fully embraces God’s acceptance of you, it gives you courage to face anyone else’s rejection and that is freedom indeed.