GOD hates ‘SPIRITUAL’ ADULTERY & UNCLEANNESS
September 2 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 22-24
The Lord also said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them." (Ezek. 23:36-37)
The parable of the two sisters, the daughters of one mother, is a commentary on the indiscretions of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the time of the prophet Ezekiel (vv. 1–49). The parable suggests that they had a separate existence even during the Egyptian captivity and that idolatry was with them from the beginning (vv. 2–4). The kingdom of Israel (having Samaria as its capital) entered into spiritual adultery with Assyria and Egypt, due to which Jehovah God handed her over to the rule of Assyria (vv. 5–10). On the other hand, the kingdom of Judah (having Jerusalem as its capital) refused to learn from her sister’s fate, and continued in her spiritual uncleanness (vv. 11–35). Through the prophet Ezekiel, God reminded both the ‘sister’ kingdoms of their harlotry and idolatry (vv. 36–44), and announced their soon coming punishment (vv. 45–49).
Israel was infested with idol worship, and its capital city of Samaria was a virtual museum dedicated to foreign gods (vv. 1–10). Israel is referred to as ‘Oholah’ (‘she has her own tent’) since Israel had set up her own center of worship in Samaria while God’s temple was located in Jerusalem. In this parable, Oholah played the harlot to the good-looking and macho horsemen of Assyria, and therefore, she was abandoned by God to her lovers who uncovered her nakedness and slew her with the sword. God judged Israel in 722 B.C. when He permitted the kingdom of Assyria to take them captive.
On the other hand, the kingdom of Judah and its capital Jerusalem was referred to as the other sister ‘Oholibah’ (‘my tent is in her’) since God’s tent (the temple of God) was located in Jerusalem. She actually went even further in her idolatrous spiritual adultery and uncleanness (vv. 11–21). First, she lusted after the Assyrians, just as Israel had done (vv. 12, 13). Then, she doted on the images of the men of Babylon portrayed in vermilion. She lusted for them and sent messengers to them, inviting official representatives of Babylon to view their glory and riches (see 2 Kings. 16:7; 20:12–19). She recalled her youthful sins in the land of Egypt as she multiplied her harlotry and gave herself over to the Babylonians to commit terrible immorality. Thus, Judah is condemned for her alliances with Assyria (Isa 7:1–25), with Babylon (2 Kings 24:1), and with Egypt (Isa 30–31), and was taken captive finally by Babylon in 586 B.C.
The judgment that fell on Samaria should have been a sufficient warning to Jerusalem, but it was not. Yet for all of its dedication to pagan idols, Israel was outdone by its sister kingdom Judah (vv. 11). In fact, Jeremiah sarcastically remarked that Judah had as many gods as it had cities (Jer. 2:28). He was alluding to the fact that the nation was completely given over to idolatry, and had become more idolatrous than the Canaanite nations that the Israelites had dispossessed upon entering the Promised Land (2 Kings 21:1–11). Since the Jewish nation of Israel (and Judah) was wedded to Jehovah, idolatry was the same as infidelity. They were giving themselves to foreign gods and committing harlotry and spiritual adultery. That is why God brought judgment on His people.
Let us understand that God’s standard of holiness is not diluted today. As part of the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-32), we have to remain faithful to God and His commandments. God wants single-hearted devotion from us as His bride (2 Cor. 11:1–4; James 4:1–10). However, when we give more important to the things of this world, we are committing spiritual adultery and becoming unclean before a holy God. Let us always remember that God hates our spiritual infidelity, so let us pledge ourselves to remain true to God all the days of our lives.