Chapter 18 begins with God speaking through Ezekiel to reprimand the Israelites for blaming their sins on their fathers. He explains to them, through Ezekiel, that everyone is accountable for their own actions…whether they are righteous or sinful…and each will be judged based on those actions.
Chapter 19 brings the end to the kings. God never intended for Israel to have a king, he wanted them to follow Him, to be a holy nation that was different from the rest of the world.
In chapter 20, we see God’s frustration with Israel but we also see his compassion. Over and over again they reject Him, yet he chooses to punish them in private so the Gentiles so not mock them and their God. We are also reminded of God’s promise that eventually they will be restored.
These chapters remind me of God’s never ending mercy and faithfulness. Regardless of what we do or the choices we make, if we come to him with repentance in our heart His forgiveness is freely given. However, if we come to Him while still worshiping idols He will refuse us like he did the Israelite elders in chapter 20.
Things raises the question of what constitutes idolatry in our modern world? Since we no longer create bronze or stone statues and we certainly no longer offer up animal or human sacrifices to other Gods, are we free from this sin? Certainly not! In today’s world, we worship the idol of “me”. We build alters of materialist “stuff” that makes us feel important, powerful, successful. We focus our energies on better jobs, more money, bigger houses, fancies cars, expensive clothes…all in an effort to feed our own ego and pride. These are the idols of today.
That being said, none of these “things” are the idolatrous, rather it is our faith in them, or feelings about them, that creates the idolatry. 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (ESV)
The key word here is “love”.
You see, like money, all our stuff is amoral…it is neither good nor bad. However, the “love” of stuff is what makes it idolatrous. When we love our big house, prominent job, fancy car, social status, etc., more than we love God, we have fallen prey to the same idolatrous behavior that kept the Israelites in so much turmoil.
God wants us to love Him above all else and promises that if we do, he will guide us and protect us and love us unconditionally to the point that we will inherit His Kingdom and have everlasting life. I would like to encourage you to take a look to your life and your priorities…
…are you putting God first in all things?
…are you trusting in His plan?
…are you believing in his promises?
If you aren’t, or even if you are unsure, ask God to show you where you are off track… to open your heart to His way and His glory… ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life and transform you so you can live your life knowing God is first in all things.
Tomorrow’s Delight: Ezekiel 21-22
Hugs & Blessings,