Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ezekiel, or why believers need the church

I was reading Ezekiel not long ago for my quiet time. I was having a terrible time getting through it, but I finally managed it by outlining the thing as I went. Well, today in wing chapel Jenny was talking about how she was having problems with Ezekiel too, but then she came across this chapter that was really cool.

An eyebrow raised, unconvinced. Something cool in Ezekiel?

In chapter 16 (she explained), God is talking to Israel about how He found her as a baby, abandoned and left to die outside, and He rescued her, and when she grew up He gave her a bath and rich clothes and all kinds of jewelry and oil and special food, and marries her. She immediately starts cheating on Him and disaster generally strikes, but then at the end of the long, nasty, sordid tale, He rescues her again and forgives her.

Jenny pointed out that this is what God does at salvation. Of course we're used to Him giving us grace and mercy and all that spiritual stuff, and it's good spiritual stuff, but in Ezekiel, the gifts are both tangible and exactly what his bride likes: the ancient equivalent of bubble baths and aromatherapy, embroidered and silk outfits, and bracelets, and a necklace, and rings, and earrings, and even a crown. How feminine is that? How cool is it to get individualized presents? I don't doubt the girl turned out gorgeous. Once Jenny mentioned it, it was completely obvious, but I'd been quite oblivious in my effort to "do" Ezekiel.

This is why (I think) God puts believers in churches, rather than sending everyone out into the desert at conversion: occasionally someone will notice something excellent you miss. :-)

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