“Then I looked, and behold, a form that had the appearance of a man. Below what appeared to be his waist was fire, and above his waist was something like the appearance of brightness, like gleaming metal.” The prophet Ezekiel saw a representative of the Almighty. In the message that followed Yahweh exposed the spiritual corruption that existed among the children of the Lord. God’s heavenly ambassador took Ezekiel “by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem.”
What did the prophet see there? The Lord showed him four idolatrous “abominations,” beginning with an “image of jealousy.” This monument of false worship was placed at one of the gateways to the temple. God was Israel’s husband. What was this false deity doing right outside His door?
Secondly, Ezekiel saw “a hole in the wall” that led to a secret room where “seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel” were burning incense to a great host of unclean images. They comforted themselves with the lie that “the Lord does not see us.”
Still more distressing, a third picture came before the prophet. In the same vicinity a group of women were “weeping for Tammuz,” a pagan deity. What had become of the daughters of Jerusalem?
The fourth picture was of a group of men turning “their backs to the temple of the Lord” as they worshiped the sun. With this final chronicle of spiritual degeneration, Ezekiel heard a clear denunciation of the ethical filth that had taken over the entire nation. The chosen people of Jehovah had filled “the land with violence” and had provoked the Lord “still further to anger.”
The Lord indicted Israel for ignoring the obvious. “They put the branch to their nose,” like someone trying to avoid an unpleasant smell. As they considered the quality of their own offering to the Almighty, they could only imagine the freshness of cedar. They pretended that there was no real problem with their behavior.
God was not deceived, and He announced that when they came to Him in desperation, “though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” Like Jacob’s brother Esau as described in Genesis 27:38 and Hebrews 12:17, they would not “inherit the blessing.” Remember that when Esau came to Isaac, “he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
We need the Lord God to grant us remission from our sins at the earliest moments of any foolish wandering. We must not wait to plead to Jesus on the day when He comes again to bring the vengeance of the Almighty upon the wicked. Let us ask for forgiveness for the church today, not only for ourselves, but for all who are with us around the communion table. We can apply for mercy now from the Son of God who died for our sins and who hears and answers prayer.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, there is much spiritual adultery within Your church. Please forgive us. We have idols in our hearts and in our lives that must be destroyed and removed from Your sanctuary. You know the truth of what is in us. Though we may have a white-washed exterior, we cannot fool You. Inside there are dead men’s bones. We have even become brazen in our worship of created things. Our lives are also obvious evidence against us, for we do what is evil. Please change us and forgive us.