Ezekiel 16 -- This devotion is not for the faint of heart.
“My son, listen to my words. Hear these sayings. Keep them in your heart. They are life to those who find them, and healing to their flesh… Do not be crooked in speech or deceitful. But, stay true. Ponder your path so that your steps may be secure. Stay true. Do not be turned away nor led astray.” Proverbs 4:20-27, 7:25 paraphrased.
A babe cries out, salty and fleshy odor follows in a warm gust of air. Peering down, an infant lies on the path, rolling in dirt, covered in blood. There is no protection; no nurturing; no love. Instead, a hole fills the heart. It is something better unseen. His eyes begin to fill with water, his hands reach unexpectedly down, and soon she is in his arms. The life of the babe is fading. Her cries begin to muffle. He hears his own voice before he decides to start speaking. “Live!” He is crying out to the babe in his arms, staining his shirt with blood, “Live!” She calms as his voice becomes a lullaby. She sleeps, safely within his arms.
There, in his security, she grows. He spoils her, buying her the latest trends and jewels. She is the apple of his eye. But, it is not long before his trusted beauty plays the whore. His heart is lovesick as she chases after strangers reeking of death. She does not remember her youth; her savior; her love. On a dark night, she cries out, finding herself steeped in death, the smell of her lovers had latched onto her. She cannot escape. Once again, he comes to her, he reminds her of his love. He comforts her. She is confounded, speechless in her shame. He atones for what she has done.
Israel had wandered astray, falling from the words of wisdom and leading a life of folly. Her steps had slipped and she had become a babe covered in sin. It was something better unseen. She cried out for a savior, “Hosanna!” along the path. Out of his compassion, he had entered the world, reaching down unexpectedly. After staining himself with blood, he cried out to the babe “Live!” She heard his cry. It became music to her ears. He took her death upon himself and gave her his life.
Through that sacrifice, we became the apple of his eye. But, it is not long before we surround ourselves with suitors. For less than a penny, we worship them in place of Him. The stench of their death flows into us. We cannot escape. Again and again, he comes to us. He reminds us of his love. He comforts us. And, we are speechless in our shame. For, he has atoned for what we have done.