Everything on earth regarding humanity, every struggle, every desire, every relationship, everything about us, every job, every friendship relates to one underlying motive…finding our worth. We know, even though some won’t admit it, we know our unworthiness. The Word declares that “we are born in sin and shapen in iniquity…all our righteousness are like filthy rags.” Accordingly, everything we do generates from our efforts to find meaning, value…worth. This was the same problem with the people of Israel and their idolatrous intentions.
At the higher end, everything in heaven regarding divinity, every creation, every commandment, every message, every prophecy, every plan, relates to one underlying motive…transforming our unworthiness. God knows our worth. We are “created in His image.” As a result, everything the Trinity does generates from their efforts to grant us meaning, value…worth.
What’s the conclusion? Humanity and Divinity are working towards the same thing, but in different ways. We seek to find our worth in things of this world. God wants us to find our worth in Him. The truth is we will find it nowhere else. However, that truth is the hardest truth to tell or prove to someone. It was the hardest truth to preach to the people of Israel. God had sent prophets; many of them tried to tell the people that they are special to God, that He loves them and wants to give them the desires of their hearts. Instead, the people looked to idols; speechless, idols. Therefore, the ruins had to do the job that preachers and prophets couldn’t do.
In the ruins, our worth and our unworthiness clashes, a battle is fought and if we surrender worth will win.
The ruins is the place where our unworthiness gawks at us in the mirror. Ezekiel belabored our unworthiness in chapter 16, “When you were born, no one cared for you. When I first saw you, your umbilical cord was uncut, and you had been neither washed nor rubbed with salt nor clothed. No one had the slightest interest in you; no one pitied you or cared for you. On that day when you were born, you were dumped out into a field and left to die, unwanted” vs 4-5).
In Ezekiel chapter 16, God had no reservations in using powerful and demeaning images to show us how unworthy we are. Imagine a newborn baby, uncut umbilical cord, unwashed, unclothed, dumped out in the field, unworthy to live. The ruins often expose our unworthiness in deluge of overtones, so that if we are not careful, we would die from feelings of unworthiness. These feelings of worthlessness are more deadly than a bullet wound, and we have to be careful to dismiss and not harbor them.
We may feel just like Samson did; like a fool, with his eyes plucked out, sitting in the dungeon. We may feel just like Joseph did, sitting in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, wondering ‘what have I done to deserve this.’ But Jesus knows how we feel. Imagine Jesus, almost beaten to a pulp, mocked, spat upon, shoved through the streets with the cross of unworthiness mounted on His shoulders. Then He was mounted upon the same cross, just to reveal our worth. The ruins may be a wicked and wretched place, but it is the place where real, hell and eternal issues battle. Only one can win. For example, Jesus couldn’t sin and be our Savior; there is no room for both.
Nonetheless, although the ruins will reveal our unworthiness, Ezekiel didn’t leave us in the pit of unworthiness. He continued in verse 6 with a beautiful epithet of our worth. Right there in the field of unwantedness, God, “came by and saw you there, covered with your own blood, and [He] said, “Live! Thrive like a plant in the field!” And you did! You grew up and became tall, slender and supple, a jewel among jewels.” The ruins is also the place where the light of God’s grace emerges and transforms our unworthiness. From above the clouds, worth appears like the unexpected rainbow and banish every dark doubt about who we are.
In split seconds, the unwanted baby left to die became a jewel among jewels. God knows our unworthiness. But, He also knows our worth. He declares, “I’ve bought you with a high price…I’ve numbered the hairs on your head…I value you more than many sparrows…I’ve redeemed you and call you by name. I’ve graven thee in the palm of my hands.”
So if you are in the ruins feeling swaddled, cloaked with the coat of unworthiness, God has His hands stretched out; He wants to uncover you and give you a cloak of worth. Look to God to find your worth.
One day He will say to you, “Live, thrive like a plant in the field” and then He will raise you up from the ruins. With His help, Samson arose from the dungeon. With His favor, Joseph arose from the prison. With His power, Jesus arose from the grave. With His love and grace, you will emerge from your ruins.
Jesus walked the ruins of unworthiness all the way to the cross, and just to give us worth. Only He can transform our unworthiness into worth. You may feel worthless, done for, feeling no good in the pile of your ruinous mess, but God sees worth in you. Our worthiness is our demise, but our worth is His prize.
Ezekiel 6: 9-10, “I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.“
Artwork: Avocet Brooks (Used with Permission)