Ezekiel 23

Ezekiel 23 has the prophet telling a story of His people.  God’s chosen nation was saved from Egypt and settled in Canaan, but it soon divided into two, the northern kingdom was Israel whom Ezekiel refers to as Samaria, and the southern kingdom was Judah whom Ezekiel refers to as Jerusalem.  These were the capital cities in each kingdom. The prophet likens these two kingdoms to two sisters who became prostitutes.  He gives them different names for the story.  “And as for their names, Samaria is Oholah and Jerusalem is Oholibah”.

God refers to their prostitution pointing to their unfaithfulness to Him in forming military alliances with foreign nations instead of trusting in him. Israel, the northern kingdom, was impressed with the might of Assyria, but in forming an alliance with the superior power she accepted also that country’s gods. Assyria used Israel for its own needs and then attacked and killed God’s people.  Judah didn’t learn from the northern sister’s experience, and followed a similar path.  Their journey started with Assyria, then Babylon, and finally on to seeking a relationship with Egypt, the very nation Moses led the people out of years earlier.

God’s not happy about this. “I became disgusted with her, as I had become disgusted with her sister….I will set My jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in wrath”.  Ezekiel links the two kingdoms for his summary of God’s judgment on them. Both kingdoms had copied the religious practices of the neighboring nations they sought out, even to the extent of offering their children as blood sacrifices to foreign gods. They deliberately broke God’s law and defiled His temple.  That obviously brought God’s wrath, each earning that on their own bad choices.  God dealt with each based on what they did, but the journey was similar allowing the prophet to speak about them together.

God makes it clear through His prophet that this was of their own doing.  Both kingdoms acted like prostitutes, as they made deals with foreign nations so that they could join with those who were immoral and ungodly  “These things will be done to you because you have played the harlot with the nations, because you have defiled yourself with their idols….you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the punishment”.  God doesn’t allow people to claim a relationship with Him while defiling that relationship.  He doesn’t share His place on the throne.  Israel and Judah pushed Him aside.  There is a severe price for that choice.

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