Recently, I read a story about a person who found a baby in an open field, a newly born infant, abandoned and helpless, still covered with birth-blood, unwashed and unclothed.
This kind person stopped, took up the baby, washed it and clothed and cared for it, and over the course of years nourished, fed and reared it with lovingkindness.
Then, a most unusual thing happened. The once helpless, abandoned baby grew up to be a beautiful woman, and the man who had brought it from the field to flourishing took her to be his very own wife. He lavished upon her love and tender affection so that she lacked nothing.
Yet an even more unusual twist of events occurred. The young wife, lifted up with pride because of her beauty, became unfaithful to her husband, committed adultery with not one but many lovers and finally became nothing more than a tramp. She was not the typical harlot though. Instead of hiring her body out to men, she hired men to commit adultery with her!
Deeper depths of sin have women rarely fallen to than this wretched woman did! What was the outcome of it all? Well, the woman finally became so miserable that her illicit lovers despised her. In her outcast state, rejected by her former companions in sin, she went back to her husband. Her lover, remembering the covenant that he had entered into with his sin-wrecked wife, received her back with compassion and care that was beyond what naturally could have ever been hoped for. What was in many respects a tragic story turned out to have an impossibly predictable end!
Have you heard the story before? If you have read Ezekiel 16 you have. It’s a parable told by God about His dealings with the nation of Israel. In many ways, it has striking applications to us who are called the Bride of Christ, members of His body, the Church.
In the Ezekiel account of Israel’s apostacy, we read of her genealogy in verse 3. Her (Israel’s) birth in the land of Canaan, to an Amorite and Hittite, non-Semitic pagans. Then in the following verses the account of her discovery as an abandoned infant is related: she was found unwashed, uncovered, helpless and hopeless. Taken up by a loving benefactor, she was cleansed, covered, and cared for and nourished and in time betrothed as a beautiful, washed (v.9) clothed (10) and adorned (11-14) bride. Then, Ezekiel’s parable relates how that in pride the once abandoned baby betrayed the One with whom she had covenanted in marriage and she became an adulteress. The cause, course, consequence and character (fornication) of her betrayal are all enumerated in verses 15-30. Then, in a picture that defies words, her brokenness is portrayed as a harlot scorned by her former lovers. (vss. 35-52) Her sins had finally come down upon her head. In this pathetic state, she, once beautiful, cherished but now broken and despised, brought low by pride and its attendant sins, returns to her longsuffering benefactor who remembers the covenant between them (v. 61) and receives her back and reinstates her to a privileged status. What grace! What mercy! What love!
That is the parable of the Abandoned Baby and the interpretation of it; now some obvious applications for us in this church-age. We, the Church, have been “espoused to one Husband.” (Christ, 2 Cor. 11:2) God found us when we were without strength, without hope. We were still in the mess of our natural birth—unclean and covered with sins and transgressions. The Devil was our father and we were children of darkness and could not boast about our genealogy.
But God’s grace found us! He washed us in His own blood. He made us clean, white as snow; He clothed us in a garment of white linen, a robe of His righteousness. He put a ring upon our finger, the shoes of the gospel upon our feet and we took on His likeness and beauty!
But, in pride, we began to leave our first love. More and more the friendship of the world allured us. We began to love the world and, before long, we began to commit adultery with the world…not with one friend, but with many: our lovers were pleasure, leisure, entertainment, sports, sex, gambling and many others. James says that we, friends of the world, become adulterers and adulteresses. (James 4:4) Instead of our lovers hiring us, we began to hire them, paying a dear price for the sin which we enjoy. After our companions in sin have used us and abused us, we are despised by them.
Going to the very bottom, we remembered that there was one person who really did love us! We turned back to Him, and He was there to receive us with outstretched arms! “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Where are you on this line of love today? Have you been born again? Are you betrothed to Christ? Have you or are you betraying His love? Isn’t it time to remember Him and, yes, even in your state of brokenness, return to your Benefactor? There is mercy in His loving embrace. There is grace that is measureless! Flee to Him in repentance today if you are “out there” abandoned, broken.
“That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27)