“Therefore, whore, listen to God’s Message: I, God, the Master, say, Because you’ve been unrestrained in your promiscuity, stripped down for every lover, flaunting your sex, and because of your pornographic idols and all the slaughtered children you offered to them, therefore, because of all this, I’m going to get all your lovers together, all those you’ve used for your own pleasure, the ones you loved and the ones you loathed. I’ll assemble them as a courtroom of spectators around you. In broad daylight I’ll strip you naked before them—they’ll see what you really look like. Then I’ll sentence you to the punishment for an adulterous woman and a murderous woman. I’ll give you a taste of my wrath!

I’ll gather all your lovers around you and turn you over to them. They’ll tear down your bold brothels and sex shrines. They’ll rip off your clothes, take your jewels, and leave you naked and exposed. Then they’ll call for a mass meeting. The mob will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They’ll burn down your houses. A massive judgment—with all the women watching!

I’ll have put a full stop to your whoring life—no more paying lovers to come to your bed! By then my anger will be played out. My jealousy will subside.

Because you didn’t remember what happened when you were young but made me angry with all this behavior, I’ll make you pay for your waywardness. Didn’t you just exponentially compound your outrageous obscenities with all your sluttish ways?

Everyone who likes to use proverbs will use this one: “Like mother, like daughter.” You’re the daughter of your mother, who couldn’t stand her husband and children. And you’re a true sister of your sisters, who couldn’t stand their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.

Your older sister is Samaria. She lived to the north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister is Sodom, who lived to the south of you with her daughters. Haven’t you lived just like they did? Haven’t you engaged in outrageous obscenities just like they did? In fact, it didn’t take you long to catch up and pass them! As sure as I am the living God!—Decree of God, the Master—your sister Sodom and her daughters never even came close to what you and your daughters have done.

The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.

And Samaria. Samaria didn’t sin half as much as you. You’ve committed far more obscenities than she ever did. Why, you make your two sisters look good in comparison with what you’ve done! Face it, your sisters look mighty good compared with you. Because you’ve outsinned them so completely, you’ve actually made them look righteous. Aren’t you ashamed? But you’re going to have to live with it. What a reputation to carry into history: outsinning your two sisters!

But I’m going to reverse their fortunes, the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters. And—get this—your fortunes right along with them! Still, you’re going to have to live with your shame. And by facing and accepting your shame, you’re going to provide some comfort to your two sisters. Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will become what they were before, and you will become what you were before. Remember the days when you were putting on airs, acting so high and mighty, looking down on sister Sodom? That was before your evil ways were exposed. And now you’re the butt of contempt, despised by the Edomite women, the Philistine women, and everybody else around. But you have to face it, to accept the shame of your obscene and vile life. Decree of God, the Master.

God, the Master, says, I’ll do to you just as you have already done, you who have treated my oath with contempt and broken the covenant. All the same, I’ll remember the covenant I made with you when you were young and I’ll make a new covenant with you that will last forever. You’ll remember your sorry past and be properly contrite when you receive back your sisters, both the older and the younger. I’ll give them to you as daughters, but not as participants in your covenant. I’ll firmly establish my covenant with you and you’ll know that I am God. You’ll remember your past life and face the shame of it, but when I make atonement for you, make everything right after all you’ve done, it will leave you speechless. Decree of God, the Master.”—Ezekiel 16:35-63

So where have I been? Man, I have been asking myself that exact same question. I don’t know what I was thinking believing that I could be writing so much on sexual purity, courtship and God’s design for true intimacy and not be attacked. Something told me that when I was preparing to embark upon tackling Jerusalem that my life was going to radically change. It’s very interesting the things that can happen when you make a concerted effort to loose—and I mean really loose —-the demons from your life. YOU WILL BE ATTACKED IN WAYS AND ON LEVELS THAT YOU NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED OR PREDICTED.

So, without getting super deep (simply because there is so much to address as we bring this portion of the series to an end), just know that when you are trying to release yourself from bondage, you have to go beyond the symptoms of something into the very root/core cause of it all. It took some maneuvering, but I am out, light bulb moments were discovered and my abstinence (thank God) is still in tact.

I have a spiritual mentor who recently told me that in her prayer time, God told her that I was going through an identity crisis. I must admit that at first, I was offended. Of all of the things that I have recently come to discover about myself, not knowing who I am was at the very bottom of the list (if it was on there at all). But then my mind took me back to two women who prayed over me just a few weeks before. They too prayed for my sense of well-being; that I would be able to be restored to who God originally called me to be and that I would not be defined by other people’s insecurities or expectations.

In my prayer time, God revealed to me that while I am a survivor of childhood abuse, I am also a survivor of relational abuse. Since two months before I turned 19—-and in many ways, on a mental level, way before that—-men have defined my self-worth. As women, we are designed in both physical and emotional ways to be nurturers and receivers. When our intimate interaction with a man is ordained by God that is a blessed thing because God equips us with the ability to take on what our mate has to offer. “In us” they find peace, security, safety and favor to learn, grow, prosper and endure (which is why you need a wife, fellas). But when God is not present (i.e., when we are committing adultery and/or fornication), we are left on our own to take on the physical ramifications of such a spiritual act. Listen to me, ladies: We were never created to have to handle such a responsibility as that alone (in other words without God’s help) no matter how socially acceptable sex may seem to be (Isaiah 5:20).

You wanna know why so many women are “off” in the heads? It’s not because of their personalities (well for some it is—whole ‘nother reading), but it’s due to all of the spirits that are warring within them; the consequence of their promiscuity. God never intended for us to be sexually schizophrenic, but that’s exactly what many of us have become as a direct result of our disobedience. The Bible says that sex is to make two people one flesh (Genesis 1:24). This was God’s perfect intention for man and wife. Ecclesiastes 3:14 tells us that “What God does shall be forever; nothing can be added to or taken away from it” and Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”. Furthermore, Hebrews 13:4 reiterates that while the marriage bed is pure, fornicators and adulterers God will judge. And how will he judge them? Well, when Jesus returns it says that “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

But there is a judgment that is going on even now as we live here on this earth. Psalm 7:11 says that while “God is a just judge, he is angry with the wicked every day.” Anytime that you know something to be a sin and you do it anyway (James 4:17), you are operating in a form of wickedness and the Word says that in doing so, you are snared by the works of your own hands (Psalm 9:16) and because of your pride, you do not seek the Lord and so he is in none of your thoughts (Psalm 10:4).

Wow. No wonder so many of us feel that our sexual lifestyle is not “really hurting anyone” and it’s “no big deal”. When we are living in a conscious state of wickedness (and if you have been following this series and you’re still kickin’ it hard, that means you), God is not there to navigate our thoughts. God says that the way to have him direct us is to acknowledge him in all of our ways (Psalm 3:6). The way that we acknowledge (to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of) him is through our obedience (Romans 6:16).

Some of us wonder why we are wandering around lost in our relational mess and it’s because we think that praying and paying our tithes is acknowledging God, when the truth is that if you really believe him to be true and real, you will do what he says in every single area of your life—including and in many ways, especially your relationships. When you don’t, when you choose to put anything or anyone above God, you are operating in a form of idolatry, which is a sin before God (Exodus 20:3).

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV) states: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Some of us are suffering even now because we are not heeding God’s warning concerning this matter. Jeremiah 25:6 tells us, “Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.”

So how do you know when you are serving and worshiping someone? When you are in a relationship where you are “providing a regular or continuous supply of something” more than you are doing for your other friends or you are honoring someone with “a high level of reverence or regard” that is more than what you are doing for God, not only are you making God jealous (Exodus 34:14), but you are putting yourself in a place of judgment. No one is to be your savior but God. Why? Because no one has the ability to “save”, “rescue” and “deliver” us but him.

Just this morning, while praying with a married friend of mine, I was sharing the fact that one of the biggest cancers to kill intimate relationships is being expected to fill or expecting someone else to fill a void that we or they were not created to. You want to be saved? Only God can do that (Psalm 17:7). You want to be rescued? Only God can do that (Psalm 22:8). You want to be delivered? Only God can do that (Psalm 37:40). You want a husband? Let me tell you what he can do for you:

*He can give you affection (I Corinthians 7:3)
*He can be your head/covering (Ephesians 5:23)
*He can love you as Christ loved the Church and gave his life for it (Ephesians 5:25)

No where in there does it say that he is supposed to or even has the capabilities to replace the position of God in your life. Some of us are still single because we have not grasped that concept yet. Shoot, if your “boyfriend” is running your time, thoughts and feelings now, there’s no way that God is going to find you spiritually responsible enough for marriage. Remember, you cannot serve two masters. However, unfortunately, many of us know this and we still choose to do it. This makes God angry because God did not create marriage as a replacement for our relationship with him; it’s only supposed to complement it.

And this brings us to the final chapter on Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 16:37 says that because Renee showed her nakedness, committed sexual sins and killed her children that God gathered up all of her lovers and stripped her naked in front of them.

Let me pause right there.

Some of you are still caught up in your past relationships because you are not healed. You are still naked in the sense that your wounds are still exposed to the people who hurt you. Do you want to know how to get covered up? James 5:16 says that we are to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed. I John 1:19 reminds us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I encourage you to take this time to confess the sin you have committed with the men (and fellas, if you are reading this women) of your past. I Corinthians 6:18 tells us that while every other sin that we commit is outside of the body, sexual sin in the one that we commit against our own body. Romans 6:23 goes on further to share that the wages of sin is death. Some of us are “dead women (and men) walking” because we have not repented for sinning not only against our own body, but the body of others.

When I first read the part about God allowing Renee’s lovers to rip her clothes, take her jewels, tear down her shrines and hack her to pieces, I thought, “What kind of godly loving is that?” But then I thought about my own sexual past. I have been sexually violated by a man that I should have left completely alone (rip her clothes). I have found myself paying the bills of men who did very little investing into my well-being (take her jewels). I have been so caught up in someone else’s needs that I had trouble paying my own bills (tearing down shrines) and please believe that my heart has been broken into so many pieces that years later, it’s still amazing me how much “Super God Glue” I need (hacked to pieces).

I’m saying all of this to say that God did not allow all of these things to happen to Renee because he hated her. God loves all of us children. No, essentially what God did was remove his hedge of protection (Job 1:10) from her so that she could see just how ugly, selfish and destructive sin really is. Take it from me, if you have not yet been humiliated by the consequences of sin, that’s not because of anything you are doing; that is a result of God’s mercy, pure and simple.

Some of you have recently ended a relationship and you are devastated at this very moment. You are wondering why God has forsaken you and he hasn’t (Hebrews 13:5). What he is doing is putting you in a position that makes you so uncomfortable that you don’t see any other way out but to turn around, repent and commit to serving him. Sometimes God allows us to become devastated so that we will come to see the real evil of the Enemy. When it comes to intimate relationships, without God, as Eric Jerome Dickey says, there no love making because “sex without love is violence”. Why? Because violence is a “swift and intense force”, “an unjust exertion of power”, “a physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing” and “damage through distortion or unwarranted alteration”.

I was just telling a male friend of mine not too long ago that he is so beaten up by sin (which is the greatest form of abnormal use of ourselves) that he doesn’t know how to properly discern a good thing when he sees it. He would rather sleep around with concubines (the Delilahs of the world who only take your strength) than commit to a godly woman (someone who will bring him unlimited favor—Proverbs 18:22). Ladies, if you ever want to see proof of an insecure man who is clueless about his purpose on this earth as well as the purpose of what women are called to be in his life, just look at a promiscuous man. From a spiritual set of eyes, there is nothing more pathetic than a man who is called to cover, using his body to expose the beauty and sanctity of women.

In Ezekiel 16:43, God tells Renee that because she did not remember the covenant he made with her—-one that would protect her from hurt, harm and danger—-he would repay her for what she had done. Because with God, mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), all that he really had to do to teach her a lesson was to remove his “kindness, compassion and favor”—gifts from God—-for a season. He also opened her eyes to see the similarities that she had with her mother and other sisters. For some of us, that’s women in our bloodline, but I believe that also stands for the sisterhood as a whole. If you are an emotional whore in judgment of physically promiscuous women, God may put you in a position where your internal desperation for a man or relationship is exposed to show you that your need for God is no less than anyone else. If you are spending the night three days a week with your boyfriend while dogging out your friend who’s shacking up with her fiancé, God may put you in a position where you will need to spend the night on the couch of that very person’s house….when your fiancé puts you out. If you are someone who justifies oral stimulation, you may find yourself with an STD while your stripper friend gets another clean bill of health just so that you can see that ALL OF YOUR BODY is sacred and belongs to God…mouth included (Romans 12:1).

I have learned that sometimes God will allow us to be in a position of needing compassion so that we will not forget to bestow it upon others. I Peter 3:8 says that we are to be of one mind, having compassion (a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering) for one another. If you see that a sistah is suffering and nothing in you wants to do what you can to help her out, beware: you may find yourself needing her assistance one day and remember, what you sow you shall reap (Galatians 6:7).

And finally, this tale ends with God restoring his covenant with Renee. I won’t lie to you: this is exactly where I am now: the place of restoration. Yes, that sounds all “warm and fuzzy”, but when I tell you that I was so close to calling this series “quits” and throwing in the “new creature in Christ” towel, I ain’t kidding. When you step into a new level of understanding, God places you into a higher level of accountability:

“And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”—Luke 12:47-48 (NKJV)

Another translation is:

“The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!” (Message)

If you are in a place of restoration, a place of where God is bringing his covenant back to you, don’t look for it to be easy, but do look for it to be highly beneficial!

Restoration means:

*to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish
*to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition
*to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor
*to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost)
*restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken

Synonyms for restoration: apology, repair, redress, restoration, reconciliation, softening, adjustment, improvement, amends, reconstruction, rehabilitation, overhaul, amends, dues, payment, reparation, acknowledgement, recovery, awakening, redemption, release, pardon

Synonyms for restore: bring back, build up, cure, give back, hand back, heal, improve, make healthy, make restitution, mend, modernize, put back, re-enforce, re-erect, re-establish, reanimate, rebuild, recall, recondition, reconstitute, reconstruct, recover, redeem, refresh, refurbish, rehabilitate, reimpose, reinstate, reintroduce, rejuvenate, renew, renovate, repair, replace, rescue, retouch, return, revitalize, revive, revivify, send back, strengthen, touch up, update, win back, absolve, clarify, clean, clear, depurate, disinfect, expurgate, launder, lustrate, purge, purify, refine, restore, rinse, sanitize, scour, scrub, sterilize

Yes, when God tells us that he will restore to us the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), there is indeed a process that takes place. I’ll give you an example (fellas if you get queasy, you may want to end this portion of the reading for today right here).

In my prayer time a couple of weeks ago, I told God that while I knew that my sexual past was a part of my purpose when it came to healing others through my testimony (I Timothy 4:16), I wanted as much of my wedding night as possible to be given back to me. Do you know what he said? “OK, well help me out and stop using tampons”.

I remember when I was 16, I went to the gynecologist. After asking if I was sexually active, she refused to give me a pap test stating “The only thing that should (purposely) break the hymen is the penis”.

I didn’t even start using tampons until a couple of years ago because my mother was never a fan of them. “Shellie, that stuff is meant to flow out. It’s not healthy to leave it trapped up in your body like that.”

But of course, I wanted to be like the masses and find something that was more convenient. Funny how God can bring things back full circle. Can God restore a hymen? Definitely. Can you help him out by not putting anything in there to break it? Definitely. Besides, there are other health benefits for choosing the “Always” route (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0820/is_1998_Dec/ai_53445330).

This month was my first month without using any tampons since I started and while it was initially awkward (change always is), I must admit that it was also liberating because I think there were a certain level of spiritual lessons that God wanted me to learn as well. If I truly want to be restored physically, emotionally, mentally and relationally, I must stop letting my past experiences, hurts, harms and fears trap me. I must be willing to be open and honest about my feelings and my needs. I must be willing to repent to God and others and also grant forgiveness. I must be willing to acknowledge the things that I have done wrong and pardon those who have done wrong to me. I must be willing to reintroduce myself to positive words and perspectives on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I must be willing to humble myself as God sends me through various avenues of spiritual reconstruction and rehabilitation. I must be willing to return to some things in my past so that I can purge out the pain. I must make the necessary adjustments required to soften the rough edges of my heart and personality. I must make amends with some and make peace with others. I must mentally replace some and emotionally repair others. I must do whatever it takes to get me back to my original state: the place I was called to be before matters of the heart attempted to shatter my soul.

This could happen overnight, but for most of us it won’t because there is power in the process. Just as working out strengthens you over time, restoration does the exact same thing. When God sees the focus, commitment and tenacity that you are putting forth to become a “new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17), it re-develops a trust between God and you, the previous covenant breaker. As you show that you want to be faithful to him, he in turn shows his faithfulness to you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined on your own. Restoration is hard work, but don’t become weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). It’s worth it (and yes, I am speaking that in faith because I know without it, it’s impossible to please him—Hebrews 11:6).

So, if you have lived the life of Jerusalem, or as I have been calling her, “Renee”, you no longer have to. No matter what you have done, once you are in Christ, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). The Enemy doesn’t want God’s daughters to live in their birthright (a royal state), but once you accept God and his principles there is nothing to fear. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). You were not called to be a whore but a queen and queens can’t balance crowns on their backs!

Rise up my sistahs! Restoration is on its way!

©Shellie R. Warren/2006