Skip to main content

Idols first, then business.

Photo courtesy of GeoDum
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? Ezekiel 14:3

Let's be honest with each other for a moment. We all have idols in our hearts, do we not? If we look very carefully at out lives I think each of us will find that at times there is something (or somethings) that gets in between us and God, something that takes our primary focus off of Him. Maybe I'm the only one that struggles with this, but I believe that even the most spiritually mature among us deal with the issue of idolatry at one time or another. I am certainly not saying this is the constant state of affairs but occasionally it pops up. There is a reason that the first two commandments address this problem and it is because God's people, almost from the very beginning, have been guilty of idolatry.

By the time the prophet Ezekiel emerges onto the scene Israel is still confounded by idolatry and God aims to square them away. In Ezekiel 14:1-11 God has some very powerful and harrowing words for those among the people who are wrapped up in idol worship. First, as we see in the verse above, God asks the prophet if the people are going to consult Him, or are they going to continue to seek help from false, powerless idols? Then He goes on to tell Ezekiel how He is going to address the people. He says in verse 4;

I the Lord will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols.

In effect, God is saying, "Sure, I'll talk to the people but I'm going to address their idols first. Then we'll get to the other business." This same principle applies to us today. If there is any form of idolatry in our lives and hearts God is going to take care of that first and foremost. His number one priority is that we should have a right and intimate relationship with Him and that can't happen when stuff is in the way.

Idolatry is a prison that we put ourselves in then we ask God to come and talk to us during visiting hours. God is faithful so He comes to see us but there is a glass barrier between us and we have to talk through a telephone. The conversation might look something like this.

"Hey God. Good to see you. I was wondering if you could give me some advice about a situation I'm dealing with in here," we say.
"I'd love to, but I'd rather there not be this barrier between us. I really want to talk to you and fellowship with you and we can't do that with this glass in the way," God assures us.
"Yeah, I know but that isn't really the issue. I need your help with something else. Can we talk about that instead," We continue.
"No, you don't understand, the barrier is the most important issue. Come on out of the prison and we talk about anything you want." God says.
"But I'm pretty comfortable with this setup. I'm really starting to like it in here." We plea.
"Your comfort is not my priority. Your relationship with me is, and we can't have a deep relationship with you locked up behind this wall." He continues.

Have you ever had a conversation with God that looked like that? Obviously we don't see it in that way but that is the way it is. Let me ask you this. Has God ever exposed an idol or sin in your life either through reading His Word or in your prayer time? If He has you know that until you deal with that idol He will always keep coming back to it. Granted, its not always as neat as the fictional conversation above. God will sometimes give us guidance and speak to us regarding other things in the midst of our idolatry but He will always come back to it. Why? Because our God is personal and He wants nothing more than to have an intimate relationship with us. He knows that when our relationship with Him is where is needs to be other things will fall into place behind it. I refer to it all the time, but Matthew 6:33 tells us so much about God's will,

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

If we have idols in our lives and hearts God will not let it slide by. He will address them with the utmost urgency because He cares about us. Not only that but, let this blow your mind for a second, He wants you to get to know Him the way He knows you! The solution to the problem of idolatry, as it is with so many other things, is given to us in verse 6,

Thus says the Lord God, "Repent and turn away from your idols and turn you faces away from all your abominations."

This may be the simplest explanation to all of our problems, repent and turn from __________ and turn towards God.



Popular posts from this blog

Characteristics of a Godly Watchman Pt. 1: Vigilance

Most everyone has heard an alarm go off. It may be something as mundane as the alarm clock every morning that tells us it is time to get up and get ready for work, or it may be something as frightening as a fire alarm. No matter what the specific purpose of the alarm they all share one common theme: they are meant to alert people and warn them of impending danger.

In Joel 2:1 the Lord commands the prophet to; Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountainbecause the day of the Lord is coming. That is, God’s judgment is coming upon Israel for their sinfulness. Further along in the chapter, in verse 15, Joel is again commanded to blow a trumpet but this time it is to call the assembly of the people together so that they can, consecrate a fast. This tells us two important things about the role, or the duty, of the prophet of God. First, it tells us that the prophet is to act as an alarm to warn the people of God’s coming judgment. Secondly, the prophet is also to be the mo…

A Letter to Christian Girls.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tonight my wife has been asked to speak to a group of Christian girls on the issues of dating, purity, relationships, etc. As part of that, the youth pastor of this church asked if I would write a letter to the group of young women from a guy's point of view. Now, I can't say as I remember ever having written a letter to a group of teenage girls but I do have some pretty strong feelings about the way our culture has portrayed love, marriage and particularly women. So, what I would like to do in this post is reproduce for you some of this letter. I may add some here and subtract some there but I want this to be my letter to all the Christian, young ladies out there.

What I want to do, through this letter, is share some things from a “guys” point of view because it’s no secret that we see things a little differently than you ladies do. You may think that all we think about …

My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter?

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker? The one that says "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." I certainly have and generally when I see it I quietly agree with the driver and take the encouragement that comes with seeing a fellow soldier in the Lord's army. Just this evening, though, I had a thought as I was driving home from Bible study. "Should Jesus be my boss?" Now before you go casting judgment on the thought let me explain what I mean. I propose that instead if being a "boss" we should be looking at God and Christ as "Master." I'll explain by looking at some differences in the idea of boss and master.

Difference #1: Why were you hired?

When an individual is hired for a job by an employer it is for a specific reason. Perhaps a particular skill, talent or level of education qualifies someone for a particular job. The employer hires the person that is the most qualified to fulfill the task. Granted, this is the way it is supposed to work. …