Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Image In Ezekiel 16, the Lord spoke to Jerusalem, expressing His disappointment at her ingratitude and rebellion, in response to His care and nurturing. He stated, “I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful” (vs. 7). Using the figure of marriage, He later said, “I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine” (vs. 8).

Their response was disconcerting. He charged, “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it” (vs. 15). In fact, Jerusalem was so corrupt that God said, “You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite” (34).

The problem with Jerusalem was threefold. She was proud (15), ungrateful (22), and unfaithful (16-17). God concluded with these harsh words, “How degenerate is your heart!” says the Lord God, “seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot” (30).

The phrase “brazen harlot” is an interesting one, in keeping with the illustration God used to describe Jerusalem’s descent into idolatry and other abominations. The idea of a harlot shows the degree of her unfaithfulness. God had taken her as a wife, and in response she was not only adulterous, but prolific in her pursuit of other gods. The term brazen indicates that she felt and showed no shame.
The term brazen comes from a Hebrew word that Strong defines as “imperious.” Wilson, in his Old Testament Word Studies uses the terms, “hard, vehement, imperious” to define the term. It comes from a root word which means “to dominate.” The KJV renders the term “imperious”, Young’s Literal Translation, “domineering”, the ASV “impudent” and the ESV agrees with the NKJV in using the term “brazen.”

The term brazen is a good choice. The word as used in the text is defined by Webster, “acting in a very open and shocking way without shame or embarrassment; contemptuous boldness.” A prostitute is characteristically unashamed of her immorality. She is bold, calculating and contemptuous of the law and the moral standards of polite society. This serves as a perfect description of rebellious Jerusalem.

The word is also descriptive of our own callous and ungodly society. Jeremiah characterized the people of that day, together with their leaders, saying, “‘Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment They shall be cast down,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 8:12). Today our nation no longer knows how to blush. There is no shame, only a brazen disregard for all that is holy and righteous.

Abortion is a scourge on our land. The homosexual agenda has been successful in swaying popular opinion, and policymakers may soon not only make homosexual marriages legal in all states, but may also further impinge upon our rights to express our opposition to that heinous sin. Extramarital sex is common, and those who remain chaste until marriage are looked upon as prudish and peculiar. Illicit drug use is rampant, and in some parts of society is without stigma. Social drinking is expected, lascivious dress and immoral entertainment options are almost unavoidable, and materialism and narcissism is rampant. Virtue is mocked, and the immoral is deemed sophisticated and urbane. The strong work ethic that made our nation an economic power is now rare, and we have replaced individual benevolent initiative with a reliance upon our government. The children, the poor, the sick are often abused and neglected, as we seek our own selfish pleasures.

Which begs one question. As a Christian, are you influenced by such brazen ungodliness, or are you zealously seeking to be pure, humble and active in maintaining and promoting God’s values among the wicked? “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).