Ezekiel is told by the LORD to “make known to Jerusalem her abominations” (chapter 16:2). He develops an elaborate parable that begins with all the blessings the people had experienced through the LORD who “entered into a covenant with you” (verse 8). This was at Sinai, through Moses. We read “your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendour that I bestowed on you” (verse 14). And so it was: under David and Solomon there was a time of great blessing, partly repeated under the reigns of Asa, Hezekiah and Josiah.

But God now sees the nation as a prostitute, totally given to godless ways, disgracefully misusing His temple in Jerusalem. Yes by the end of the chapter God says “yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant” (verses 59,60).

History shows how God dealt with them, destroying the city and temple in Ezekiel’s day and again in AD 70 after they had rejected Jesus. But we believe God’s covenant is truly everlasting. In the last century Israel has been re-established – so the last two verses are most significant.

“I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded … when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD.” The time is coming when the people of Israel shall know God and His covenant and how it was re-affirmed to them through Jesus. But there are words of tragedy in Luke. Some will say in that day, “We ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets. But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from. Depart from me …” (Luke 13:26,27).

In contrast “people will come from the east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (verse 29). Will we be among these people?