Editor’s Note: Thanks to David Hundert who is our guest blogger this week, continuing our series through Ezekiel.
In Ezekiel, the leaders are at it again! Thinking that God is slow in responding to their need, they are worshiping at the altar of their own idols. They have traded the true God for a god of their own making. God illustrates this with what he points out in Ezekiel 11 verse 3, where we read, “[The leaders] say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’”
The leaders are basically telling their people, “Don’t worry about anything! We’re fine! Our houses are new and we are rebuilding! Our economy is doing great, we just had a positive jobs report, the stock market is doing well, and by the way, we have a wall!” The comment that is made in verse 3, regarding the city being a pot and the people are the meat, is a strange comment but is believed to be referring to the pots used in the home to protect meat. The leaders were telling the people that they were safe. God was saying, “You might want to reconsider that…”
There are so many references that come to mind about now… For instance, Jesus states in Matthew 23:27-28,
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Jesus was telling the Pharisees, that while they are doing everything right on the outside, inside they are dead to God. Now in Ezekiel’s day, you have the people tasked with leading God’s people, trying to sew a false sense of security while the world around them burns to the ground and the leaders themselves serve false gods!
Do you remember our quiz in the first post in this series on Ezekiel 11? Do you remember Winston Churchill’s quote? “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Reading through Ezekiel so far and looking around society today, it doesn’t seem as though much has changed, does it? Before Jesus came into our lives, we were all a little like the Pharisees, wouldn’t you think? Before Jesus saved us, we were all trying to do the right things, say the right things, be “good people.” But that isn’t enough.
I heard it said this past week, that Jesus didn’t save us because “we’re” good, He saved us because HE’S good!
Go ahead and read that again slowly.
The sad part is, God’s judgement toward those that serve idols hasn’t changed much. Just a few weeks ago we looked at some possible American idols? We also studied how Christian worship can become idolatrous? As believers, we are not exempt from idolatry. Christians can also follow leaders instead of the Lord. Remember when we talked about Mars Hill church and it’s pastor, Mark Driscoll? The issues that took place there were many and complex, however one thing was evident. There was unrepentant sin involved and so a church with a weekly average attendance over 15,000 closed when the senior pastor resigned rather than go through elder prescribed reconciliation. When Cain was upset that his brother’s offering had been accepted and his hadn’t, scripture states that Cain was “downcast.” When the Lord addressed this with Cain, he states in Genesis 4:7,
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
It’s been said, “When Christians build a church, Satan builds a chapel next door.” I take this to mean that if we believers aren’t careful, we can find ourselves serving idols of our own making due to our own poor judgement or even through personal failure. The main difference between those that intentionally serve idols and believers that incidentally find themselves becoming idolatrous, is that when usually confronted, the Christian will stop, repent, and turn their hearts back to God.
In the first post of this five-part series, I asked you to complete some historical phrases. I have one more phrase for you to complete: “Jesus Christ is the same ___________________”
This one comes from Hebrews 13:8, and it reads, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Doesn’t it stand to reason, that if the Lord is the same, yesterday, today and forever, the punishment for sinning will remain the same? Nevertheless, the Lord doesn’t leave us hanging there, does he? There’s still hope! Ever since the very first sin in the garden of Eden, God had a plan. There’s still hope!
Check back to the next post, as we continue learning about the hope God offers us, even those of us who previously turned our backs on him.