Ezekiel 23:36–49 (NKJV)

36 The Lord also said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.

The depth of idol worship is outlined here, with human sacrifice of their children becoming part of the indictment.  Judah also defiled the temple and failed to properly observe the Sabbaths.  

40 “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?’ 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.

In this passage, the Lord accuses the sisters (Israel and Judah) of washing and putting on makeup in an effort to lure Gentiles to her room.  She dressed up herself and her dwelling, but was truly a used-up woman, too old for the prostitution in which she participated.  Yet, somehow, she still drew her lovers, along with the judgment of righteous men.  The sisters are adulteressed, and will be dealt with accordingly.

46 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ ”

The Lord here reiterates His pronouncements of judgment from previous warnings, but adds the image of stoning and burning their houses with fire.  God’s desire is that the discipline of judgment will drive the idolatry from the nations and that they can recognize Yahweh as Lord and then be restored.  God is looking for righteousness.  If He cannot find righteousness, then He will allow judgment to fall.  Then He will look for righteousness and submission.  Do not push the limits too far.  God desires mercy rather than sacrifice.  Let Him reign in your life, not sin.  God desires relationship, not judgment.

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