Chapter sixteen is poetically and thoroughly appalling. It both needs no added commentary and could also be the subject of extensive study. There is no room to guess the LORD’s intent or meaning; He is devastatingly clear.
While this is a poetic, historical recounting of events, I will hone in on a few points that could be applicable to us still.
She repurposed all the gifts from the LORD for her own glory and exploitation. Her beauty was because of His splendor (16:14), and she defiled it. This along with all wealth, jewelry, clothes and food were turned around to either promote herself of chase after another lover.
How do we steward our gifts from the LORD? Do we spend them on ourselves, fueling our own egos? Do we use them to bribe others to love us?
Her atrocities out-performed Samaria and Sodom. (16:51) While both those places seem worse, due to their lack of redeemable moments, they are considered better, because of the sheer volume of blessing Judah turned into horror.
It’s my observed opinion that we are not graded on a curve, but more held accountable for what we do with what we know and have. How are we taking seriously our positions of blessing? Does this make us more casual with the LORD, or more reverent?
This line is gut wrenching:
“Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire.” (16:20-21)
The LORD had loved enough to have His heart broken. He doesn’t hold back and somehow He continues to fight for redemption and restoration, which brings us to the conclusion.
He remembers and remains faithful to His covenant promises. (16:60) I’ve always been struck by the mental picture I have of the LORD redeeming His bride: Her covering her mouth as He says, “we’re not going to mention this again”.
The banner of her will be love, not the horrific saga of her shame. This should evoke some serious awe-inspired worship. I’m left with an undebatable, yet nuanced, understanding of what it means to fear the LORD, and why it’s the beginning of wisdom.
What emotions does this chapter drudge up for you today? Which part struck you most? What do you need to repent of, and leave behind, today?