Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Really Bad Girl

Do you consider yourself a "good girl?"  You know the type: spent most of high school studying or working in order to spend summers going to church camps and youth group activities.  Helene, Melissa, and I were all that sort of girl.  Although we try to make the blog applicable to all types of women, perhaps we hit this target group more often.  We hope today's post is broader in scope.  Good girls or bad we all have something to learn from Ezekiel's description of Israel as one REALLY bad girl!

The book of Ezekiel is God's message to His chosen people, Jerusalem/Israel, right before He sends her off into Babylonian captivity.  In the beginning of Ezekiel, God's beloved Jerusalem has strayed far from Him. She has fallen into the deep pit of sin.  She has forsaken Him as God and has set up idols "on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains" (Ezekiel 6:13).  Chapter 16 speaks pretty graphically of her ways of harlotry.  In verses 46 & 47, He compares her to Samaria and Sodom and says, "you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they."  God's beloved children have strayed so far from Him that He has decided that they need some severe discipline, so off to Babylon they will go.

Just like with our own children, sometimes God's punishment is in the form of natural and logical consequences In Ezekiel chapter 7 God says, "The end is upon you, and I shall send My anger against you; I shall judge you according to your ways, and I shall bring all your abominations upon you."   Israel's sin had unintended consequences and so does ours.  Whether it be a loss of health due to physical sin or a loss of trust because of a more spiritual transgression, the consequences of sin have a way of catching up with women.  Even after the sin has been forgiven, the aftermath may haunt one for many years.

However, there is hope for the wayward sinner.  God punished the Israelites hoping that their suffering would draw them back to Him.  When He disciplines His children today, He also does so with the desire to cause repentance.  When God's daughters suffer as a result of sin, it is because He is trying to draw them back to Him.    She who has been forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47).  Once forgiven, she has a story to share of His grace that only a former bad girl can share.

This picture of God waiting for his repentant children with a father's loving arms is the story of the Bible.  In I Corinthians 7:9-11, Paul says, "do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."  God sent a similar message to Ezekiel.  He said, "if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statues and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  ALL his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live."  Although Ezekiel spoke in the masculine person here, all of these words are true for us women as well.  

Following are the words that I most hope we all can remember from today's post.  Regardless of our past, we all needed a savior "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23 & 6:23).  All of us who have believed on Him, repented of our sins, and been baptized have the promises above of cleansing, sanctification, justification, the forgetting of our sins, and life (Acts 8:37 & 2:38).  Satan, the father of lies, wants us to forget these facts (John 8:44).  He wants us former good girls to think we can do it on our own and that we don't need Christ.  We can't, and we do need Him.  Satan wants the former bad girls to be continuously reminded of the past.  This is not the message of God.  No matter how many sins one has committed or how bad they were, He remembers His daughter's sins no more.  Perhaps it is time that some of us stop relying on our own goodness or that others let go of the past and stop beating themselves up for past mistakes.  We all need to see ourselves through God's eyes, not through Satan's eyes or even our own.  

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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