How do you react when someone corrects you? Are you threatened and defensive, or do you receive correction with a grateful heart?
God always "tells it like it is" to His people. He reminded Israel that she had at one time been like an infant cast out of doors, bloody and naked. His faithful concern for her brought her to maturity, adulthood, and prominence. Rejecting God's faithfulness, however, Israel became faithless and was described in Ezekiel 16:32 as an "adulterous wife who takes in strangers instead of her own husband." So corrupt was Israel that God compared her to a prostitute that insisted on paying her suitors (vv. 33-34)! These rebukes, harsh though they may seem, were intended to bring Israel back to repentance.
Those who whitewash sin and do not tell you the truth about yourself are actually contributing to your destruction. It is better to be rebuked openly if it causes your repentance and restoration. Look for friends who are willing to wound you with correction, rather than enemies who multiply kisses!
A friend's courage in confronting you will produce a change in your character and may save you from eternal destruction. After all, doesn't everyone have a blind side?
12 The word of the Lord came to me:13 “Son of man, if a country sins
15 “Or if I send wild beasts
17 “Or if I bring a sword
19 “Or if I send a plague into that land and pour out my wrath
21 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments
15 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, how is the wood of a vine
6 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.7 I will set my face against
16 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, confront
6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”
8 “‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment
9 “‘I bathed you with water and washed
15 “‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by
20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters
30 “‘I am filled with fury against you,
32 “‘You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband!33 All prostitutes receive gifts,
35 “‘Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord!36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood,
12 Then this message came to me from the Lord:13 “Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals.14 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord.
15 “Or suppose I were to send wild animals to invade the country, kill the people, and make the land too desolate and dangerous to pass through.16 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, even if those three men were there, they wouldn’t be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved, but the land would be made desolate.
17 “Or suppose I were to bring war against the land, and I sent enemy armies to destroy both people and animals.18 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, even if those three men were there, they wouldn’t be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.
19 “Or suppose I were to pour out my fury by sending an epidemic into the land, and the disease killed people and animals alike.20 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, they wouldn’t be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved by their righteousness.
21 “Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How terrible it will be when all four of these dreadful punishments fall upon Jerusalem—war, famine, wild animals, and disease—destroying all her people and animals.22 Yet there will be survivors, and they will come here to join you as exiles in Babylon. You will see with your own eyes how wicked they are, and then you will feel better about what I have done to Jerusalem.23 When you meet them and see their behavior, you will understand that these things are not being done to Israel without cause. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
15 Then this message came to me from the Lord:2 “Son of man, how does a grapevine compare to a tree? Is a vine’s wood as useful as the wood of a tree?3 Can its wood be used for making things, like pegs to hang up pots and pans?4 No, it can only be used for fuel, and even as fuel, it burns too quickly.5 Vines are useless both before and after being put into the fire!
6 “And this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Jerusalem are like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest. Since they are useless, I have thrown them on the fire to be burned.7 And I will see to it that if they escape from one fire, they will fall into another. When I turn against them, you will know that I am the Lord.8 And I will make the land desolate because my people have been unfaithful to me. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
16 Then another message came to me from the Lord:2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable sins.3 Give her this message from the Sovereign Lord: You are nothing but a Canaanite! Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.4 On the day you were born, no one cared about you. Your umbilical cord was not cut, and you were never washed, rubbed with salt, and wrapped in cloth.5 No one had the slightest interest in you; no one pitied you or cared for you. On the day you were born, you were unwanted, dumped in a field and left to die.
6 “But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, ‘Live!’7 And I helped you to thrive like a plant in the field. You grew up and became a beautiful jewel. Your breasts became full, and your body hair grew, but you were still naked.8 And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.
9 “Then I bathed you and washed off your blood, and I rubbed fragrant oils into your skin.10 I gave you expensive clothing of fine linen and silk, beautifully embroidered, and sandals made of fine goatskin leather.11 I gave you lovely jewelry, bracelets, beautiful necklaces,12 a ring for your nose, earrings for your ears, and a lovely crown for your head.13 And so you were adorned with gold and silver. Your clothes were made of fine linen and costly fabric and were beautifully embroidered. You ate the finest foods—choice flour, honey, and olive oil—and became more beautiful than ever. You looked like a queen, and so you were!14 Your fame soon spread throughout the world because of your beauty. I dressed you in my splendor and perfected your beauty, says the Sovereign Lord.
15 “But you thought your fame and beauty were your own. So you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along. Your beauty was theirs for the asking.16 You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen?17 You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against me!18 You used the beautifully embroidered clothes I gave you to dress your idols. Then you used my special oil and my incense to worship them.19 Imagine it! You set before them as a sacrifice the choice flour, olive oil, and honey I had given you, says the Sovereign Lord.
20 “Then you took your sons and daughters—the children you had borne to me—and sacrificed them to your gods. Was your prostitution not enough?21 Must you also slaughter my children by sacrificing them to idols?22 In all your years of adultery and detestable sin, you have not once remembered the days long ago when you lay naked in a field, kicking about in your own blood.
23 “What sorrow awaits you, says the Sovereign Lord. In addition to all your other wickedness,24 you built a pagan shrine and put altars to idols in every town square.25 On every street corner you defiled your beauty, offering your body to every passerby in an endless stream of prostitution.26 Then you added lustful Egypt to your lovers, provoking my anger with your increasing promiscuity.27 That is why I struck you with my fist and reduced your boundaries. I handed you over to your enemies, the Philistines, and even they were shocked by your lewd conduct.28 You have prostituted yourself with the Assyrians, too. It seems you can never find enough new lovers! And after your prostitution there, you still were not satisfied.29 You added to your lovers by embracing Babylonia,
30 “What a sick heart you have, says the Sovereign Lord, to do such things as these, acting like a shameless prostitute.31 You build your pagan shrines on every street corner and your altars to idols in every square. In fact, you have been worse than a prostitute, so eager for sin that you have not even demanded payment.32 Yes, you are an adulterous wife who takes in strangers instead of her own husband.33 Prostitutes charge for their services—but not you! You give gifts to your lovers, bribing them to come and have sex with you.34 So you are the opposite of other prostitutes. You pay your lovers instead of their paying you!
35 “Therefore, you prostitute, listen to this message from the Lord!36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you have poured out your lust and exposed yourself in prostitution to all your lovers, and because you have worshiped detestable idols,
12 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying,
13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.
15 If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
16 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
21 For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God.
15 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, what is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?
6 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them.
8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God.
16 Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.
4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.
6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.
9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.
10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.
11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.
12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.
15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.
16 And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.
17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,
18 And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.
19 My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, saith the Lord God.
20 Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,
21 That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?
22 And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.
23 And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord God;)
24 That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.
25 Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.
26 Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.
27 Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way.
28 Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.
29 Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith.
30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;
31 In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;
32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!
33 They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.
34 And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary.
35 Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord:
36 Thus saith the Lord God; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;
37 Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.
38 And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.
39 And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.
40 They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords.
41 And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless
20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath,21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.
26 Such a high priest
18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath,21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office.24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever.25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save
26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts
or fully declare his praise?
who always do what is right.
come to my aid
and join your inheritance
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
7 When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought
and they rebelled by the sea,
to make his mighty power
11 The waters covered
not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
1 Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough?
3 There is joy for those who deal justly with others
and always do what is right.
4 Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people;
come near and rescue me.
5 Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones.
Let me rejoice in the joy of your people;
let me praise you with those who are your heritage.
6 Like our ancestors, we have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
7 Our ancestors in Egypt
were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
8 Even so, he saved them—
to defend the honor of his name
and to demonstrate his mighty power.
9 He commanded the Red Sea
He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
10 So he rescued them from their enemies
and redeemed them from their foes.
11 Then the water returned and covered their enemies;
not one of them survived.
12 Then his people believed his promises.
Then they sang his praise.
106 Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?
3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.
6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
7 Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
4 Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
but jealousy is even more dangerous.
5 An open rebuke
is better than hidden love!
6 Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.