Ezekiel 16:5: “No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.”

June 8th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

This parable found in chapter 16, the longest chapter in the Book of Ezekiel, is about Jerusalem itself. It is the extended history of God’s interaction with Jerusalem and His people. It recounts His grace and kindness to them; how He saw them naked and uncared for and covered them and made them thrive. It also shows their ungrateful responses to Him; how they rejected Him and went after false idols over and over again. And so He brought punishment on Jerusalem.

This picture of Israel being lost in sin and abominations, without any hope, is an accurate model for each of us who is lost in our sin. We too are trapped and have no hope except for the gracious gift that God extended to us. This chapter about their sin and the punishment of that sin, closes with a beautiful promise from God, one that is true for every person, then and now. God promised that when they remembered their ways and were ashamed, He would establish His covenant with them. He said, “I [will] provide you an atonement for all you have done” (Eze. 16:63, italics added). That atonement is Jesus, and He is more than able to cover every sin, every dark failure we fear we can’t be forgiven for. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can forgive and cover us.

There is a great old illustration of this truth from the middle 1800s. The greatest chess master of the era, an American named Paul Morphy, was invited by a friend to look at a painting titled, “The Chess Player.” The painting was of Satan and a young man playing chess for the man’s soul, and it was the young man’s move. It captured the moment of despair as the man realized he was checkmated and there was no move he could make that wouldn’t lead to his defeat and the loss of his soul. Morphy, who knew more about chess than the painter, studied the picture and asked for a chessboard and pieces to be placed in exactly the same position as those in the painting. “I’ll take the young man’s place and make the move,” he said. He then made the move that would have set the young man in the painting free. We are like the man in the painting. Our sin has us checkmated on every side, and we would be utterly lost were it not for God the Son, who took our place and made the move that set us free.

“LORD, we were lost, trapped, without hope, but You released us to grow, to become everything You have planned for us. Use us this day, we ask, in Jesus’ name.”