A Quick Look at Ezekiel, Chapter 8
The chapter begins with Ezekiel in exile in Babylon. Exiled leaders of Judah are in his home when the Sovereign Lord grabs hold of him. Ezekiel states that the Spirit lifted him into the sky and transported him, in a vision of God, to Jerusalem. Like so many of the exiles, Ezekiel longs for Jerusalem and believes that the spiritual atmosphere in Judah must far exceed the shame of their captivity. Unfortunately, he will shortly discover how demonic the state of Jerusalem really is.
Ezekiel is taken to the north gate of the inner courtyard of the Temple, and, behold, there sits a large idol that has made the Lord very angry. Suddenly, the glory of God was there. God then tells Ezekiel to look north and there, beside the entrance to the gate of the altar, stands the idol that has angered the Lord. “Son of man,” God says, “Do you see what they are doing to drive me from my Temple? But come, and you will see even greater sins than these.”
At this point in the passage, I would like to compare Ezekiel’s experience in this chapter to our spiritual condition. As temples of the living God, do we place idols or sin at the gates of our hearts? Do we allow sin and ungodly desires to dig a hole through the walls of the rooms of our lives? Very shortly, we will see what happens when we allow sin and idolatry into our hearts.
The Spirit brings Ezekiel to the door of the Temple courtyard where he sees an opening in the wall. “Son of man, dig into the wall,” the Spirit commands him. He obeys and uncovers a door to a hidden room. “Go in and see the unspeakable wickedness going on in there!” commands the Spirit. Ezekiel enters the room and sees that the walls are engraved with all kinds of snakes, lizards, and hideous creatures. He also sees the various idols worshiped by the people of Israel. Seventy leaders of Israel are there burning incense.
We have seen sin crouching at the walls of our lives. We allow sin to dig a hole through our defenses. Now we see that sin has not only made a home in our hearts, it has engraved itself upon us and has become a fixture in our lives.
The narrative continues – The Lord said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying ‘The Lord doesn’t see us; he has deserted our land!’” Then he added “come, and I will show you greater sins than these.” Ezekiel is then shown women weeping at the Temple for the god Tammuz. “But I will show you even greater sins than these!”
God then brings Ezekiel into the inner courtyard of the Temple. At the entrance are twenty-five men with their backs to the Lord’s Temple. They are facing eastward, worshiping the sun. “Have you seen this, Son of man?” the Lord asks. “Is it nothing to the people of Judah that they commit these terrible sins, leading the whole nation into violence, thumbing their noses at me, and rousing my fury against them?”
I believe there is an important lesson for us believers that concerns playing with sin. Sin is always about us looking for a foothold, and it is of paramount importance that we do not let it find an entrance into our hearts. There in our hearts it may make itself at home leading us to greater sin and idolatry. If left unchecked, and if we remain unrepentant, it will lead to turning our backs on God. My exhortation to all believers is to remain alert, and do not play with sin.
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