Jewels of the Lord
"‘When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,' says the Lord GOD. ‘Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,' says the Lord GOD" (Ezekiel 16:8-14).
Ezekiel uses a picture of Israel's restoration to paint a beautiful picture of God's plan for His glorious church. He had already brought Israel out of Egypt but Israel had turned away from wholehearted devotion to the Lord to serve the idols of the nations around her much like the church today. The Lord sent judgment and put Israel into bondage but He never forsook her. He kept constant watch over His people waiting for her to turn back in humility and repentance. "I will return again to My place til they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me" (Hosea 5:15). In our sinfulness, our tendency is to see everyone else's sin but not our own. The last place we want to look is into our own hearts. We deceive ourselves into thinking everything is alright and refuse to see ourselves as God sees us. So God has to withdraw Himself, to step back from us and leave us to ourselves, leave us to the consequences of our sin. "But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels" (Psalm 81:11,12). The Lord knows that as long as things are fairly good, as long as we are getting along with the way things are, we will not acknowledge our sin and repent. It is as Isaiah said, "With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD" (Isaiah 26:9,10). Only when the Lord chastises us will we wake up to the truth of our condition. God's chastisement is redemptive in purpose. He brings us into the captivity of sin until we are willing to acknowledge our offense and seek His face for forgiveness. This is the purpose of God's chastening work. "LORD, in trouble they have visited You, they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them" (Isaiah 26:16). What this requires in each of our individual lives only God knows. But the Lord knows our frame and He is able to produce the right chastisement that will break us without destroying us. He knows how to get us to the place of godly sorrow that produces true repentance. And until we do get to that place He cannot bring restoration.
Again, the Lord watches over us with His protective eye and divine wisdom. When He sees that our hearts have been softened and our desire for Him is restored, the time of love has come and He then spreads His wing over us once again. "Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight" (Hosea 6:1,2). The first day represents our change of heart towards God. When we willingly return in humility and surrender He covers the nakedness of our sin with the blood of Jesus. To spread His wing over us is to renew relationship and make us His own once again. He releases forgiveness and healing. "But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves" (Malachi 4:2). We are brought back into covenant relationship and the blessings that go with it.
But God's restoration is with divine purpose. His desire is to make us a showcase of His glory to the nations. He wants to make us so beautiful that all would desire Him. "You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God" (Isaiah 62:3). The Lord brings us back on the first day so that He can revive us on the second day. This reviving has to do with our cleansing from inner sin so that we can be fit vessels for the habitation of His Holy Spirit. "Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith" (Proverbs 25:4). The dross of inward sin must be removed before we are suitable material for the silversmith. So the Lord washes us in water, the sanctification of Jesus Christ. Once we have put off the old man and have put on the new man, He can now anoint us with the oil of the Holy Spirit. Much of the church today has gone after the anointing without the washing and the result has been a mixture of flesh and Spirit. We have not followed the pattern of the Lord and the result has been a carnal charismatic ministry making TV shows like 60 Minutes and Dateline millions of dollars from exposes. The church needs to go back to the basics and follow the pattern of God from justification to sanctification to baptism to glorification. We must be clothed with the fine linen of righteousness so that we will not defile the work of the Lord.
Once we have been truly revived, the third day the Lord raises us up to live in His sight. This is the impartation of His fullness, Christ formed in us, the perfecting of the saints in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. God wants to make us beautiful jewels of His glory to shine before the nations of the world in all of His splendor. He makes us exceedingly beautiful as the royalty of the King. "‘They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him'" (Malachi 3:17). He causes our fame to go out among the nations because of His beauty manifested in us. When the world sees the glorious church, they see Jesus and are drawn unto Him. "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:1-3).
This has been God's plan from the foundations of the earth. He has revealed it from Genesis to Revelation and yet the church has yet to rise up and shine with His glory. Why? Because we are so busy pursuing everything except Him. As Paul said we have, "exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever" (Romans 1:25). We have been preaching another Gospel based on the lie of self exaltation and self satisfaction through material prosperity, covetousness, and greed. Like the Israelites, we have turned away from the Lord to seek the idols of the world around us. Unless we wake up to the truth, we will see the church wholly turned over to its sin and the judgment of God until it too is ready to repent and seek the Lord. He will have a holy and righteous church of glory, a people who seek His face, who live before His presence. "Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah" (Psalm 24:3-6).