Part Two: (Please read Part 1 first).
“Thus says the Lord GOD to…” you.
This is for you, so I’m going to write it that way. I know it’s for me too, and for the broken lady you always see at Starbucks at ten in the morning. But don’t squirm out of the grip of grace here by thinking about other people. Thus says the Lord GOD to you. To you.
Here we go.
“Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; Your father was an Amorite and your mother was a Hittite.”
A little background: Hittites and Amorites featured prominently on the divine hit list. They were clustered with nations and people groups God told the Israelites to wipe out. These folks were pagans to the bone, defiled and depraved enough for God to want to cut them off. And God says to you, “Your daddy was a pagan and your momma was worse.”
Before you get all defensive, this isn’t an insult. God isn’t criticizing your parents, per se. They may have been wonderful. He’s saying that you’ve got bad blood in you. You were born into sin. You started life as a sinner to the core. Not a child of the covenant to begin with, but an outsider—or, as Paul puts it, a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
Hey, I thought this was going to be a pep talk! I thought this was supposed to change my life.
It will, it will. But it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Hang in there and you’ll see. Let’s keep going.
“As for your nativity, on the day you were born your cord was not cut.”
I’m no brain surgeon, but if the placenta wasn’t cut, then it’s still attached to the uterus, right? (I told you this would get graphic). Beyond the blood and slimy film, that means that we were still attached to our old source of life and nourishment. If you can stand it, keep that image in the front of your mind as we move on.
“Nor were you washed in water to cleanse you.”
Like I said, you are swathed in blood and mucous—a disgusting mess if there ever was one. And remember that in the Jewish culture, blood makes you unclean, detestable, defiled. But no one makes an effort to clean you up. The bloody mess starts to congeal on your flesh. Crust over. Yuck.
“You were not rubbed with salt…”
No attempt was made to disinfect you or clean you up, to help you fight infection.
“Nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.”
Wow. One of the things I noticed being in the ER when all three of our children were born was the importance of keeping them warm. Infants need to be wrapped almost immediately. For one thing, they’re used to nuzzling close to mommy’s heart, absorbing her heartbeat and enjoying the rhythmic swishing of the placenta. Secondly, the drop in temperature coming out of the womb can shock the little blighters. Everyone wraps their babies.
“But on the day you were born,” says God, “you were left in the cold.” How could all this happen to someone? How could anyone do this to a child? How could such neglect happen?
Those are good questions. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you were neglected as a child too. Maybe no one took the time to cut you loose as you grew up, freeing you to live your own life. Maybe you felt alone, left to face your fears and clean up your own messes. Maybe no one helped you fight through the tough times in life. No one helped you thrive, no one wrapped you with the warmth that every child should have. Maybe it happened later in life as chaos stung you and wrung you out like a wet towel.
Maybe in your heart of hearts where nobody sees you’ve been asking, “Why? Why did this happen to me?” Or more importantly, how could this not happen to you? Most of us had parents that meant well, even if they failed us miserably. But listen to Ezekiel’s story as it unfolds. Most importantly, listen to your own story as it comes loose from its rusty chains, surfacing like an old wreck from the deep places of your own heart.
“No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you.”
Ouch. Maybe you can identify. Maybe the conclusion you’ve been left to face is that no one cared (or cares) about you. Maybe you felt the lack of warmth from mom or dad or someone else and concluded that something was wrong with you. Maybe you live on the edge of that nagging abyss, sliding deeper into its shadows each and every day.
“But you were thrown out into the open field…”
Into the open field? Yeah. The picture is becoming clear. No one wanted you. No one cared. You were left to fend for yourself when you were too young to know how. You were left to die, and part of you did. Part of you is still six feet under, cold and corpse-like.
And before that part of you died, you cried out, didn’t you? You called out for mommy or daddy or anyone or anything to help you. Maybe you cried and prayed and begged and waited until you were hoarse and you had no energy left to fight the inevitable. Maybe your plea was a silent one that no on heard. You didn’t understand why no one came, why you were left there unprotected and unseen.
Something did answer the call though, something you didn’t want. The flies. The swarms descended on you there in the field, licking up your blood, spreading their disease. Yes, the enemy came in like a flood, then, didn’t he, planting lies, feeding off of your misfortune and pain, telling you that you were worthless, that no one wanted you.
“You yourself were loathed on the day you were born.”
Loathed. Detested. Unwanted. Have you ever felt like that?
No one cares. I’m dying inside. Why doesn’t anyone listen, why can’t they see? Why won’t anyone reach out to me?
I am dirty, defiled, disgusting. No one would, and no one could ever want me. This is my fate, to die alone in this barren field, to wither way in plain sight. They can see me, they can hear me, but they don’t care because I’m not worth caring about.
TOMORROW: But God