Ezekiel 16 … Consider His Call to Remember

“Besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood,” (16:22).

It’s the longest chapter in this book of Ezekiel, and much of it is devoted to walking His people back through their spiritual history with the God of all creation.

They were nobody special, nobody worth choosing, as they had been told from the very start.

“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. 11 Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them,”  (Deuteronomy 7:7-11).

They were chosen and loved by Almighty God through absolutely no merit of their own. It was God’s plan, God’s love, God’s faithfulness to His Covenant that brought redemption from slavery, and all He asked was that they demonstrate their love by keeping His commands.

Shouldn’t they have lived every day in such awe and such gratitude, that they, out of all the peoples on earth, had been so loved? But that fatal flaw was furiously at work in His children, that penchant to live for the moment, that inclination to forget the past, forces that fiercely derail the trajectory towards His desired future for those He had called to Himself. If only they would have listened and answered His Call to Remember.

“Besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood,” (16:22).

Consider His Call to Remember

History class was in session, His Call to Remember. Remember their beginnings. The special privilege of being born in the Holy City was a gift not a right; for they were from the land of Canaan, and like the rest of the pagan nations, they were without knowledge of the One True God.

…Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite,” (16:3).

God Calls them to Remember their birth as a fledgling newborn tossed aside without pity or compassion, thrown out and left to die. He Calls them to Remember His great mercy as He looked upon them and called them to life, adorning them with numerous gifts of grace.

He Calls them to Remember how He protected them in their innocence and provided for them with abundance. And He Calls them to Remember how they became known as a people who had been beautifully blessed by the splendor of the Lord God.

Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord God, (16:14).

But they forgot. They did not remember it was His perfection and splendor, and none of their own; and in their pride, self-love, and forgetfulness, they turned from faith in God to play the harlot.

And the outcome of their forgetfulness is described with details of their obscene and vulgar behavior. The image is that of an adulterous wife, cheating on her husband, consumed in the pursuit of temporal pleasures. And in not Remembering her God, she succumbs to the cultural tide, even going so far as to participate in child sacrifice and turning to a lifestyle of spiritual prostitution. And her abominations so permeated her affections that rather than receiving wages for her indecencies, she went out and paid to be the whore.

Men give gifts to all harlots, but you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you from every direction for your harlotries,” (16:33).

And because they did not Remember, all that they had chased after to lift themselves up would now chase after them to bring them down

Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head,” declares the Lord God, “so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations,” (16:43).

The children of Israel had forgotten they were called to a relationship and not a religion. And in failing to Remember His Holiness, they convinced themselves they could live after their own desires and still remain highly regarded as the chosen people of God. But God’s conclusion of their life is shocking: their  lifestyle of adultery is so hideously heinous that it makes their sisters, Sodom and Samaria, appear righteous.

“…Thus you have made your sisters appear righteous by all your abominations which you have committed,”  (16:51).

And even though they did not Remember, God did. Oh, His punishment would come, but nevertheless, He would Remember His Covenant. And then they would Remember the days of their youth and be ashamed as He Remembered and forgave them their humiliating ways.

“Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you receive your sisters, both your older and your younger; and I will give them to you as daughters, but not because of your covenant. 62 Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord God declares, (16:60-63).

How do we respond to His Call to Remember?

In His rebuke of His people’s behavior, God invoked a proverb.

“Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, ‘Like mother, like daughter,’(16:44).

We’ve all heard the sayings, “like mother, like daughter” or “like father, like son.” They have much the same intent as “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” These proverbs can be spoken either as commending or as denouncing the likened demeanors.

When God said, “Like mother, like daughter,” it was anything but a compliment. For in this proverb He Called them to Remember that their lifestyle resembled their natural heritage, resembled the ones they had so looked down upon, those wretched Canaanites, the pagans. And in this cutting statement, He also Called them to Remember the gift of the spiritual heritage they had in Him but had forgotten.

And God Calls His children, who have been saved by the cross of Christ, to Remember that our heritage is not of this world, to Remember the danger of forgetting where our true citizenship lies.

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:18-20).

Let us answer His Call to Remember that in Christ, we are chosen and loved by Almighty God through absolutely no merit of our own.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8).

Let us answer His Call to Remember it was God’s plan, God’s love, God’s faithfulness to His Covenant that brought redemption from slavery, and all He asks is that we demonstrate our love in keeping His commands.

 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him,” (John 14:21).

Oh, that we would answer His Call to Remember, that we would not be ruled by the fatal flaw so furiously at work in our flesh, that penchant to live for the moment, that inclination to forget the past. Oh, let us Remember so as never to forget who we once were, or forget that is only His grace that we are now His beloved, so that we will live in the trajectory towards His desired future for us.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:1-6).

Because truthfully, shouldn’t we live every day in such awe and such gratitude, that we, out of all the people on earth, have been so loved? And whether or not others agree or understand, may we be so quick to answer His Call to Remember how very much we are loved; for as we Remember, He will be faithful to grow our desire to become more and more like our Father

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure, (1 John 3:1-3).

And as we live our lives intentionally answering His Call to Remember, perhaps one day we may hear Him say, “Like Father like child.”

Let’s Grow Together!

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