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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spiritual Adultery (Ezekiel 23:35)

 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution."

It was the saddest day in all of history. We know what man lost in the Garden of Eden when he chose "earthly, sensual, demonic" wisdom instead of God, but we don't often consider what was lost to God. He had created man in His image and given him dominion over the world and He had walked with man in the cool of the day. Since that day all humanity struggles with unfaithfulness to God--spiritual adultery. One commentator goes one step further and describes this behavior as spiritual nymphomania. This insatiable appetite for anything but God accurately describes people today.

The activities of Oholah (Israel) and Oholibah (Judah) picture the heart of all humanity. Proud, stubborn, independent, and distrusting--all characteristics that, left unchecked, lead to unfaithfulness--to spiritual adultery.
  • Proud people think "I can do what I want to do and have what I want and no one can tell me otherwise."
  • Stubborn people think "I don't want anyone to say that I can't have whatever I want."
  • Independent people think "I don't have to consider how what I do affects others."
  • Distrusting people think "God is keeping something good from me."
Since her inception Israel resisted the covenant faithfulness of God. She served and worshipped foreign gods; She refused to listen to God's prophets who were sent to warn her to return to God; She didn't consider the effect the sin of one generation had on future generations; and She didn't believe in the good heart of God toward His people. Ezekiel captures God's response to her adultery in chapter six, verse nine:
"Those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols . . . " (Emphasis added)
People today commit spiritual adultery in their prideful trust in their own ability and resources. They simply don't need God. That is the essence of spiritual adultery. 

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Ezekiel 23:1-49
  • How does God illustrate Israel's spiritual adultery?
  • How are the two sisters treated by those with whom they have committed adultery?
  • What do the lovers do to the sisters?
(It is important to understand that adultery is a transgression against a covenant partner. God, as the husband of Israel, has been sinned against before all the world to see. Think about how you would feel and react had your husband rubbed your face in his affairs. How does our sin affect our covenant partner?)
  • List the detestable practices of Oholah and Oholibah.
  • How will God put an end to their adulterous ways?
Jeremiah 21 (While Ezekiel lived and prophesied among the exiles in Babylon Jeremiah lived and prophesied among those living in Jerusalem)
  • How does King Zedekiah respond to Nebuchadnezzar's attacks?
  • What does the king hope God will do?
  • What was God's answer? What two choices does God give the king and the people?
  • It is important to notice that, along with this message of judgment, God still extends the possibility of repentance in the little word "or".
Ezekiel 24
  • What does God tell Ezekiel is taking place in Jerusalem on the the 10th day of the 10th month?
  • What analogy does God use to describe what is taking place in Jerusalem?
  • How does God use the death of Ezekiel's wife? It is important that we understand that just as the death of Ezekiel's beloved wife broke his heart, so the heart of God grieved over the death of his beloved people.
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to let you see the seriousness of personal and national sin. Pray that America will turn back to God.