Tuesday 30 September 2014

"OHOLAH AND OHOLIBAH" Bible Readings Thoughts for Sept 27th


            Our chapter in Ezekiel (23) starts with the prophet saying, “The word of the LORD came to me, ”Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.  They played the whore in Egypt ... "  A graphic parable unfolds of the nation after it struggled to unlearn the decadence of life in Egypt.  The 2 women, Oholah and Oholibah,  represent the 2 nations which the Israelites split into after the time of David and Solomon and the glory of the Temple.
            This parable, judging by the start of the chapter that follows, was given to Ezekiel less than 2 years before Jerusalem fell and the Temple was destroyed and nearly all the remainder of the people were taken into captivity.  What would the people make of it?  Ezekiel obviously wrote it down and it was circulated.  It is a blunt portrayal of the total spiritual unfaithfulness to the true God that had come to exist - and was enjoyed
            The meaning of the parable is plainly stated in v.35 "thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring ..."  Ezekiel is told to "declare to them their abominations" [v.36]   We wonder how the people reacted? 
We see a close comparison with attitudes today - and how God's word is totally ignored.  Some of God's words in this chapter are so applicable to today, "the sound of a carefree multitude"[v.42]  They are told God's actions will , " ... make them an object of terror and a plunder ... Thus will I put an end to lewdness ... and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD."[v46,49]
            And our world today "shall know" that there is a God, for it abounds with parallels to the godless behaviour in Ezekiel's time.  We see how Jesus draws a parallel lesson in today's 20th chapter of Luke.  Jesus is "the stone that the builders rejected" but  'has become the cornerstone'."[v.17]  Let us make Jesus "the cornerstone" of our life, and how much will we all need a foundation cornerstone when, as we will read next month in Daniel, the vision of a stone (representing Jesus) strikes the image of human kingdoms on the feet, destroying them all to create God's kingdom, "and it shall stand for ever" [ch 2 v.31-44]  May we so live now that, by his grace, we will be there.

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