Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No.02 Where Are Your Idols???
Ezekiel was a Levitical priest taken into Babylonian captivity during the second siege of Jerusalem; there he was called to prophecy to the people during their captivity. You might say that while Jeremiah was called the ‘weeping prophet’, Ezekiel was the ‘graphic prophet’—for God called him to act-out various ‘skits’ before the people showing what was yet to come in Jerusalem/Judah! And while there was very little good news, God did give us a mighty picture of what He thinks about our sin—whether it’s open or hidden.
“And he put forth the form of an hand,
and took me by a lock of mine head;
and the spirit lifted me up
between the earth and the heaven,
and brought me in the visions of God
to Jerusalem...” Ezekiel 8:3a
Ezekiel was taken in this vision to Jerusalem, but what God showed him was heartbreaking; and I think if we will receive the message ourselves, our hearts may be broken too! Maybe we can start to see things the way that God sees them, and that’s what we need to do all the time.
“He said furthermore unto me, Son of man,
seest thou what they do?
even the great abominations
that the house of Israel
that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again,
and thou shalt see greater abominations.
7 And he brought me to the door of the court;
and when I looked,
behold a hole in the wall.
8 Then said he unto me,
Son of man,
dig now in the wall:
and when I had digged in the wall,
behold a door.
9 And he said unto me,
and behold the wicked abominations
that they do here.
10 So I went in and saw;
and behold every form of creeping things,
and abominable beasts,
and all the idols of the house of Israel,
pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
11 And there stood before them
seventy men of the ancients
of the house of Israel,
and in the midst of them stood
Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan,
with every man his censer in his hand;
and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then said he unto me,
Son of man, hast thou seen
what the ancients of the house of Israel
do in the dark,
every man in the chambers of his imagery?
for they say,
The LORD seeth us not;
the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
13 He said also unto me,
Turn thee yet again,
and thou shalt see greater abominations
that they do.
14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate
of the LORD’S housewhich was toward the north; and, behold,
there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
15 Then said he unto me,
Hast thou seen this, O son of man?
turn thee yet again,
and thou shalt see greater abominations
16 And he brought me into the inner court
of the LORD’S house,
at the door of the temple of the LORD,
between the porch and the altar,
were about five and twenty men,
with their backs toward the temple
of the LORD,
and their faces toward the east;
and they worshipped the sun
toward the east.
17 Then he said unto me,
Hast thou seen this, O son of man?
Is it a light thing to the house of Judah
that they commit the abominations
which they commit here?
for they have filled the land
and have returned
to provoke me to anger:
they put the branch
to their nose.” Ezekiel 8:6-17
I know this is a lengthy passage, but it’s important that we see that just claiming to be God’s own, isn’t what it’s all about! The nation of Israel had disregarded the worship of God and gone their own way! But even more heart-breaking is the fact that they didn’t walk away, but they brought all their idols, and abominations, and wickedness into God’s house! The place that was to represent to them, the very presence of God, they had disregarded so much that they brought all of their ‘ways’ into His house and abandoned HIM!
Much like the church of today, which has chosen so often, to replace God’s way with the world’s way! We are no longer contented to seek God’s way, to spread the undiluted Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ The Lord; but have invited the world to come in with their glitz and glamour, so to speak, to replace the truth of God. We no longer cling to The Word of God, we trust to popular psychology, men’s ideas, plans and programs instead of the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel was shown a religious people—even the leaders of the nation and the temple—yet they had brought idolatry, false worship, and abominations into the sanctuary of God! How it breaks my heart that we have so abandoned the piety that used to represent the church. I’m not talking about arrogance or hypocrisy, but a genuine regard for the purity and humility that God’s Word calls us to. As well as the desire to cling to and preserve biblical standards, and the exclusivity of the Gospel!
“I said therefore unto you,
that ye shall die
in your sins:
for if ye believe not
that I am he,
ye shall die
in your sins.” John 8:24
We are all born in sin, but we have the opportunity to choose life in Jesus. As Jesus told the religious people of His day, and us today—if we don’t believe that HE IS the God-Man-Savior, we will die in our sin—HE is the only cure for the penalty of sin.
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:6
Even the Apostle Paul calls us to singularity of purpose—to preach Christ alone for the salvation of men, women, boys and girls!
“And I, brethren,
when I came to you,
came not with excellency of speech
or of wisdom,
declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined
not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ,
and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Jesus is not only our only hope—He is the One who saves and transforms lives to the glory of God, and for our good. He came to save us from sin—not leave us in it!
“ And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins.
22 Now all this was done,
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name
which being interpreted is,
God with us.” Matthew 1:21-23
Jesus came to be “God with us”, to pay for our sin! Sin is the issue, no matter how our culture renames it, colors it, or tries to make it look acceptable—Sin Is Sin! It is, it has been, and it will always be the issue!
“For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
Yet, because God loves us, we don’t have to die for our own sin!
“For the wages of sin
but the gift of God
is eternal life
through Jesus Christ
our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I hate to be so repetitive, but with so many voices around us denying the truth of the Gospel, I must proclaim HIS truth, no matter how old the message seems! Jesus makes it perfectly clear in His conversation with Nicodemus.
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son
into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world
might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him
is not condemned:
but he that believeth not
is condemned already,
because he hath not believed
in the name of the only begotten
Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness
rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19
We can never be good enough to gain God’s favor, or work our way into heaven, but when Jesus saves us, He makes us new creatures IN Himself, because HIS blood cleanses us from sin, and makes us new!
“This then is the message
which we have heard of him,
and declare unto you,
that God is light,
and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship
one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son
from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess
he is faithful
and just to forgive us
and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:5-9
John wrote that if we continually walk in darkness, we ought to check out what we think saved us. He says that we are deceived if “the truth is not in us”, for Jesus IS the truth, and if His truth isn’t in us (in the person of the Holy Spirit), HE isn’t in us—and if HE isn’t in us, then we can’t walk in the light!
“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God
dwell in you.
Now if any man have not
the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.” Romans 8:8-9
It is the Holy Spirit of God who imparts the new life to us and comes to dwell within those who come to Jesus in repentance and faith, by the blood of Jesus. It is Jesus’ blood and His righteousness that helps us be what HE saves us to be.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us
the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit,
that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world
not imputing their trespasses
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation…….
21 For he hath made him
to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made
the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 & 21
Jesus took our place when He died on Calvary, and God imparts His righteousness to us when we receive HIM, because HE took our sin upon Himself on that cross! Praise God for His amazing grace, love and mercy.
But back to Ezekiel and his people; are we lying to ourselves and others just like Israel did? Have we brought our idols into HIS church? Have we, are we now, trying to conform the church to the world? Or are we willing to stand fast and hold the church to God’s biblical standard? Would we rather accept whatever makes people feel good about themselves; or are we willing to speak the truth in love, trusting to God to bring them to the cross for whatever need they may have? Have we died to self, that we might live to Christ Jesus our Lord with our whole being?
“From whence come wars and fightings
come they not hence,
even of your lusts
that war in your members?
2 Ye lust,
and have not:
and desire to have,
and cannot obtain:
ye fight and war,
yet ye have not,
because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask,
and receive not,
because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume it
upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not
that the friendship of the world
is enmity with God?
whosoever therefore will be a friend
of the world
is the enemy of God.” James 4:1-4
James was writing to those in the church—he called those who were being friends of the world—adulterers and adulteresses! Who is your friend? Jesus or the world? Only you can choose. And no matter who you may fool in this life, you can never fool God. Are you measuring life by God’s standard or the world’s? What are your idols? Or will you join me in asking God to help us to be a “living sacrifice” to our God—on HIS terms?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice,
acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed
to this world:
but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove
what is that good,
will of God.
3 For I say,
through the grace given unto me,
to every man that is among you,
not to think of himself more highly
than he ought to think;
but to think soberly,
according as God hath dealt
to every man
the measure of faith.” Romans 12:1-3
Are you leading others to be conformed to Jesus? Or is the world conforming you to the image of itself? May God open our eyes to see truth—His truth.
and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be
any wicked way
and lead me
in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
Amen and Amen!!!