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!’ “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 16:4-6, 8-14 ESV)
This section begins with such a vivid picture of salvation. God does all the work to rescue and beautify an otherwise filthy and doomed soul. I still remember the struggles I had in college as I struggled with the weight of guilt for my own sin and then the feeling of sheer joy when the Lord finally showed me that guilt was taken away, that my “filth” was removed. It was what change my perspective radically in terms of calling and priority.
“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. (Ezekiel 16:15 ESV)
But when things begin to go well it is easy to forget those feelings of guilt and the filth that once defined us. If the heart hasn’t been captivated, then it turns us back to old ways.
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49 ESV)
And it is the fruit of our ways that reveals the place of our hearts. We should ask, how do we relate with those who are filthy and doomed, as we once were?