When I wrote my last blog, I didn't foresee there would be a second. I was content in my "revelation" of God's love. I didn't think there was much more I could add. And like I do when I finish one blog, I often wonder what my next one will be. Usually, I wait to blog until I feel compelled to do so by the Spirit.
You can understand my surprise when, during last night's Bible reading, I had another insight into why God loves us so vehemently. I am currently studying the book of Ezekiel. I'm a little over halfway through it. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were contemporaries. God gave them both to Israel to be His prophets, warning them that they were about to be conquered by the Babylonians as God's judgment against their wicked ways.
Israel's heart had grown "adulterous" as they leaned toward other gods, and they now trusted their idols more than they trusted Yahweh. In one rather disturbing passage, the Lord God declares in Ezekiel 23:36-39:
The Lord said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house.
God tells Ezekiel who "Oholah" and "Oholibah" are in verse 4: "Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem."
I believe God relates Samaria and Jerusalem to women because the sins they commit are more heinous that way. The charge of adultery goes much deeper into their hearts in light of God's analogy of unfaithful women. When seen in this light, they can no longer claim they are blind to their own sin. But that's beside the point. Look at what they're doing in the passage above.
They're literally worshipping idols and sacrificing their children to them. And on the same day they come into the Lord's sanctuary profaning His holy Sabbaths. This is a seriously shocking sin! God Himself tells us why He sends the Jews into exile into Babylon in Ezekiel 23:46-49:
For thus says the Lord God: “Bring up a vast host against them, and make them an object of terror and a plunder. And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses. Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done. And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord God.”
In order for God to turn Israel back to Himself, He had to break their hearts. He had to smash their idols into bits, proving they had no power to protect, preserve, or provide. He had to make known to their hardened hearts there is no God but Yahweh, that He alone holds the power. To get through their blindness, God had to rip them from their land - the very land He promised to Abraham - to finally open their eyes to their profanity. God delivered them from Egypt. God brought them into the Promised Land. How can it be they are being evicted by the Babylonians? How can it be anything other than God's punishment for their deeds?
Often, God must break our hearts to get through our pride. He must bring us low before we'll look up. There are more people seeking Him at a funeral than a party. It's just they way the sinful heart works. When things are going well, we don't need God. That is, until things aren't going well. We are such a fickle people.
(Bear with me through this study, I will get to the point eventually.)
Thankfully, the exile of the Jews only lasted 70 years, and their hearts were indeed restored to Yahweh in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. God even allowed them to build a second temple, which is the one Zerubbabel built, an ancestor of Yeshua of Nazareth.
After studying all that shocking sin by God's chosen people, I had a deep depression come over me. I almost wanted to weep with the prophet regarding those child sacrifices. Was the blood even dry on their garments before they had the audacity to come into the house of God on the very same day they killed their babies? And people nowadays actually question the character of God for chastening His people in the Old Testament, painting Him to be bloodthirsty and cruel...? No, His people had hard hearts and a thirst for idolatry. In order to keep His worship pure and His name holy, He had to time and again smash the idols of the land to prove that only Yahweh reigns On High.
The Hebrews of old were a stubborn people of stony hearts.
It has always interested me that God relates idolatry to adultery and harlotry throughout Scripture. He uses such harsh language to show us how detestable it is to Him when we worship anything other than the true Creator of all things. This is such a deep subject that I could go on and on, but I won't.
When I had finished these passages in Ezekiel, I randomly flipped through my Bible just reading here and there, and ended up on the woman in Proverbs 31. I've studied her before, but with the backdrop of Ezekiel in my head, I read these verses with a new outlook. One shining jewel caught my eye:
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. ~Proverbs 31:10
And that's when it hit me. Those who love God are not harlots--they are virtuous. Those who love God do not commit adultery--they are faithful. Those who love God are very rare, and He views their worth far above rubies. I literally teared up. This is one of those moments when the Spirit opened the Scriptures for me in such a way that I understood what it means to be cherished by God.
Why is He so enthralled by your beauty? Because He is your One True Love. Why does one glance from your eye take His breath away? Because He is the Lover of your soul. God cherishes those who cherish Him. It's so simple, a child could understand it. After millennia of pleading with His people to worship and adore Him, when God finds that one heart after His own heart, He will protect it vehemently, love it unconditionally, and restore it magnificently.
Psalm 145:20 says, "The Lord preserveth all them that love him".
Wow, what a promise. Our hearts and our love for Him shall be preserved. He will not let our love die. Even if we stray, like the Jews of old, He cares too much to leave us in our idolatry. He will draw us back to Him, no matter what it takes.
As I close this second study, I want you to really think about the question posed in Proverbs 31:10. In this world of selfish gain, of abounding idols, and rebellion against God, indeed, who can find a virtuous woman? Who can find the one who loves God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength? This goes far beyond "women" only, as this metaphor isn't limited to gender. We, as the Body of Christ, are the Bride of Christ, and no one got that analogy better than the Apostles (who were themselves all men).
In Psalm 45:10, it states:
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:Notice she hears of Him, she considers Him, she inclines her ear and learns of Him. Notice she leaves her people and her own father's house for Him (which is reminiscent of Luke 14:26). In God, she has found all she needs. In Him, she is complete. She runs away with Him, without looking back. Her eyes are upon Him, her heart is turned Godward. He is her family now.
forget your people and your father's house,
Finally, we close with the very next verse, Psalm 45:11:
and the king will desire your beauty.Her beauty reflects Him as stated in the previous study, but it also lies in her singular eye toward the King of Glory. God Almighty desires a virtuous woman. One who doesn't stray. One who will honor Him as her LORD. One who is willing to leave everything behind to adore Him. He's been crying out for her through the ages, even before time began in the cool of a Garden. And when He finds her, He esteems her far above rubies. Why? Because she is even more rare than they. A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
She is more valuable to Him than all the stars in the sky. For while they shine His glory throughout the heavens, they shall each eventually die. Only the heart of God's virtuous woman can shine with the flame of an eternal love (Songs 8:6). When put in that light, our bright, vibrant love for the Lord Jesus Christ is the rarest, and most valuable of all His possessions.
He cherishes us, brethren, likely more than we'll ever know this side of Heaven. What an amazing eternity we have waiting for us - where locust does not eat and rust does not fade. Where the arms of Yeshua are open wide, and we will lose ourselves gazing into His tender, loving eyes...forever.