March 24, 2015

Poured Out Yet Not Emptied

I feel empty and disembodied, the wheels of my mind unable to churn, the substance of my soul too heavy to lift. Weary, so weary, only willing to expend the last dregs of energy to search out true rest. Parched and thirsty but so dry that taking a long drink seems only a false start. God hasn't spoken in a while, so why would He choose to now?
But I go to the water and ask for a drink, testing, almost as if I'm proving He won't give. Then too, I'm at the end, the last resort, conscious I cannot fill myself, so it's the only thing left to do.

The first words of Ezekiel 16 and I'm in tears. The floodgates have opened, my emotions spewing everywhere, because He is reading me and saying to me that He sees me helpless on the ground. It is a picture of redemption, of all God did for Israel, and of all He's done for me.

"As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 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."

I was born into sin.

"And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' Yes, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful."

He made me alive.

"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.

Christ in me, the hope of glory. I in Him and Him in me.

"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. . . 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.

He has made me beautiful in holiness and righteousness so that I might bring Him glory.


Uh oh. I know immediately where this is going, not just for Israel but for me.

"But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it."

I read about how everything they'd been given by God--their beauty and splendor--they took possession of, twisted from good gift to satisfaction-giver, and used for self-glory and adultery against the very One who'd given all. The gifts became their god. 

"...because you were insatiable....and even then you weren't satisfied...I will gather all these lovers with whom you took pleasure; I will gather them from all around against you...they shall strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare."

Bare. Stripped. Abused. Empty.

Turning gifts into gods leaves us empty.

He is gently reading me; the tears stream knowingly. There is a difference, He seems to say, between being poured out and being empty. Emptiness comes from pursuing idols that (or who) are mute and impotent. Pouring out is only an ability that comes from first receiving; it is dependent upon Someone else giving.

What then are these idols? I can't see, so I ask Him to help me see.

Idols are the things I'd give up anything for, that I would, however silently or unseen, walk away from God to grab onto and get for myself. Things that if God asked me to let go of in order to keep a grip on Him, I would have a hard time letting go of. Things that I try to hold onto while at the same time holding onto God. Things that I'd stomp my feet and pout if I couldn't have them or if they were taken away.

My own abilities
The appreciation, approval, and admiration of others
Living a unique or extraordinary life
Having an obstacle-free path to the life I envision for myself
Being able to do all that I want to do in life
An ordered life with everything in control (my control, of course)
Ease and comfort of life

These are my gods. I equate them with God, and by equating them with God, I negate God.

These are my gods, and they've left me bare and empty. I repent of these gods, because only One is true and alive and faithful. Only One has said to me in the blood of my sins, "Live!" Only One has made me beautiful. Only One gives. And Only One can help me pour out my life without leaving me empty.

"Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you...I provide an atonement for all you have done," says the Lord God.

Thank you, Jesus.