Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as the unfaithful wife of the Lord. This is spoken of in great detail in the book of Hosea, but in Ezekiel 16, we read a startling picture of just how unfaithful Israel was contrasted with how unwaveringly faithful God is.
God sets the scene by reminding Israel that they were the daughter of an Amorite and a Hittite, bitter enemies of God. They were outcast, abandoned, beaten, and left for dead, but God found them and healed them and called them His own people. He entered into a covenant with them. He fed them and clothed their nakedness. He adorned them with beauty beyond compare.
But they began to trust their own beauty. They sought out other husbands. They made idols and gave gifts to those idols. They abandoned their true love and gave themselves to any and all lovers. And, in startling language, God explains how far they had fallen:
30 “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord God, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, 31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, vbut you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. 34 So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.
At least the prostitutes get paid, says the Lord, but the Israelites gave themselves and all their gifts away as well. In other words, they wanted this life.
But God is still faithful. To the most faithless wife He says these words:
59 “For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, 60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, vand I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.”
He keeps His covenant, no matter what. There is nothing that this nation could do to make God stop loving them. He loved them not because they are good, but because He is good. So good that He atones for their sins. Instead of allowing them to drowning under the crushing weight of debt that they earned, He paid it Himself, because He is good.
I would encourage you to read the whole chapter and reflect on it. For in this passage lies the most central element of the Gospel, that in our sin God rescued us, paid our debts and continues to remain faithful even when we run from Him. Jesus Christ has secured our place with God. His blood is the new covenant, the everlasting covenant of God that turns beggars into kings and prostitutes to queens.
His love is absolutely staggering.