Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. Ezekiel 14:4
At a dark time in Israel's history, God called the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy against the Israelites for two primary sins. The first sin Ezekiel addressed was "idolatry of the heart" (Ezekiel 14:4). (We will talk about the second sin tomorrow). The Israelites had taken up idol worship. Idols were carved images that were worshiped as gods. As the people of Israel worshiped these idols, they were neglecting and abandoning the Lord. Because of this, Ezekiel told them that God was punishing them. Like a rebellious child, they were pushed out of their nation. The Babylonians had taken them out of Israel and held in captivity in Babylon.
It is easy to judge the Israelites and wonder what in the world they were thinking for worshiping carved figures instead of God, but most of us have our own idols. An idol is not just a carved image. An idol is anything that takes your focus off of God. In our world, many things have the potential to distract us from God. Social media, relationships, your job, your children, certain earthly possessions, your favorite professional sports team, and many other things fight for our attention and affection. We have to decide what we will worship. Will we worship other things of this world, or will we give our entire attention and affection to God, the creator of this world and everything in it? What consumes most of your thoughts? What do you spend the most time doing? Where do you invest the majority of your finances? Whatever your answer is, that is likely what has become an idol in your life.
Will you choose right now to abandon any idol that is taking your focus and attention off of the Lord?
As you have been processing Ezekiel, have you uncovered an idol in your life? What is taking your focus off of God? Take time today to repent of any idols in your life. In your journal or notes below, write out a prayer of repentance to God. Confess any idolatry and repent from it. Ask the Lord to help you as you seek to turn away from any idols in your life and back to Him.
Read Ezekiel 14:1-11 (NLT)
Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting with me, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’
“Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins. I, the Lord, will answer all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts and so fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, eliminating them from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
“‘And if a prophet is deceived into giving a message, it is because I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet. I will lift my fist against such prophets and cut them off from the community of Israel. False prophets and those who seek their guidance will all be punished for their sins. In this way, the people of Israel will learn not to stray from me, polluting themselves with sin. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!’”
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