Chapter 16:35-43 (ESV) - “Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber and break down your lofty places. They shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful jewels and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a crowd against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women. I will make you stop playing the whore, and you shall also give payment no more. So will I satisfy my wrath on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you. I will be calm and will no more be angry. Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, I have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord God. Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations?
Question to consider: Why would the nations still gather against Israel even if people worshiped their idols?
Yesterday I pointed out that no other nation treated their gods like Israel treated hers and that the desire of the nations was to increase the territory of their gods. So even if Israel set up the high places, idols, and symbols of other gods in order to increase her wealth through international commerce, the people of the surrounding nations would see the images of their gods within the walls of Jerusalem as a sign that their god had a divine right to this territory. Thus, Israel was invaded by all the nations with which they had engaged, and Babylon was the one that succeeded in tearing down the walls of Jerusalem.
God described it as uncovering her nakedness, and once they had done so, they were able to destroy the temple and steal its jewels and strip it of its tapestries. The people were then judged by the sword and stone, and their houses were burned as God’s wrath was poured out against them.
Hundreds of years before, King David sinned against God by taking a census. You may wonder why counting the number of soldiers in his army was considered a sin against God, but God did not rely on the strength and numbers of the fighting men of Israel to accomplish His will just as God did not rely on the whitewashed walls of Jerusalem to protect it from its enemies. Relying on walls and a strong army demonstrated faith in men and not faith in God. When given a choice of punishments for this sin, David responded, “Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” (2 Samuel 24:14) Though the wrath of God is great, there was a point in which it was satisfied and ended. Even though Israel would be taken into captivity, and the city would be destroyed, there was a point in which their penalty was paid, and the people would be able to return to the land God had given them. It is not so with the world of man which shows no mercy or end to its wrath.
I think it is also important to point out that the wrath poured out on Jerusalem, and the stripping of its clothes and treasures, was a type and shadow of Christ who would be stripped naked and hung on a cross more than six hundred years after this. As the true and perfect seed of Israel, Jesus would take on the wrath of God for the sin of all mankind. Once the payment for sin was satisfied, Jesus would shout, “Tetelesti!” (“It is finished!”).
Dear heavenly father, thank You for being the perfect measure of judgment and mercy as You balance the scales of justice. As Your children in Christ, help us to be instruments of Your mercy and endure the judgments made against us by the world that people may glorify Christ on the day He returns. Amen.