Our inner-circle ministers to our souls, refreshes us, and spurs us on in faith. Our outer-circle is our nexus with the world where we connect and express God’s love. If the world becomes my inner-circle, God views it as adultery, like Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s vision…
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut…
59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.
62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
Ezekiel 16:1-4, 59-60, 62-63
In today’s reading, the Lord is blasting Jerusalem as a city which has not only inherited many of the traits of cities around her, she has not kept her way pure as God intended. In vivid language which we would likely not use today, God paints the picture of Jerusalem as a prostitute to other cities and nations around them.
The lesson for us today is that we ought to watch ourselves for the pollution of the world to corrupt our hearts, which are to be set apart for the Lord. James (4) helps us understand that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Not that we are to hate our neighbours – on the contrary, we are to love and reach out to our neighbours as Jesus did. This is the difference between inner-circle and outer-circle.
Our inner-circle, those who minister to our souls, refresh us, and spur us on in our faith, can only be the people of God. The outer-circle is our nexus with the world – it is where we connect and express God’s love toward others. When the world becomes my inner-circle, God views me like an adulterer. This is God’s message to Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16.
There is hope, however, that once we are dealt with as we deserve (let’s not think that God will ignore our worldliness), God will remember his covenant with us. God will see that he has set his Spirit upon our lives, that our atonement has been made in Jesus, and he will make known in our lives that he is the Lord. We will be deeply humble before God – silenced by his mercy and our realization of our sin.
That way back is not a place I want to go. I don’t want to be an adulterer toward the one who loved me so much that he gave his son for me. I want to stay in close and commitment relationship with my Lord. Don’t you?