Remove Your Idols – Conclusion
“Then He said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.’ So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs towards the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun towards the east.” Ezekiel 8: 15-16
I have been studying the 8th chapter of Ezekiel where the Lord has revealed to Ezekiel 4 different types of idolatry that the people of Israel were involved in at the time. I have written about the first 3 types in previous blogs and would encourage you to check those out if you haven’t already. Before we look at this last type of idol worship that was revealed to Ezekiel, let’s first establish some background facts to help us understand the severity of this abomination.
Fact 1: Man is not the creator, but rather is a creature who was created by God. It is important for us to fully recognize the implications of this truth. The Scriptures refer to this relationship in numerous places. For example, there is an analogy about the absurdity of the pot telling the potter how it should be formed.
Fact 2: There is only one true God and Creator of all life (not many Gods).
Fact 3: Mankind is not able to sustain their own life, but rather is dependent upon God’s power to sustain them. For example, we do not cause the crops to grow; we may plant seeds and water, but we cannot cause them to grow. Only God’s power causes growth. We also have no control over the air that we breathe, nor the distribution of water on our living areas, nor the spread of damaging pestilence, etc.
Fact 4: As a result of the above mentioned facts, mankind is obligated to honor God as Creator and the source of life. We should also give thanks to Him for His sustenance and His many blessings in our lives.
Fact 5: God has revealed His divine attributes in His creation that surrounds us and we (mankind) are without excuse if we do not honor Him and give thanks to Him.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made, so they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.” Romans 1:18-23
When men reject the truth that God is our creator and the source of all living things here on earth, they then believe a lie that substitutes some other power for God.
“….because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:25
In the 8th chapter of Ezekiel we see that the Israelites had rejected the truth of God being their source and looked instead to something else. They saw the sun as the source of heat and light, and turned and worshiped it. They may have even given some human attributes to the sun when they worshiped it, much like the surrounding nations had done. The Egyptians worshiped a sun god that they saw as a superior deity.
In short, these idolaters saw the power that comes from God as coming from some other source. They looked at the power that sustains life and instead of attributing it to the Creator God, they instead made up a lie to replace it. Doesn’t our society do the same thing today? Don’t we attribute this power of life to “mother nature” or some unknown force. We see some evolutionary force that has guided life through the ages and caused our species to evolve, and we look to the scientists that understand how these forces work and we honor them and give praise and thanks to them.
How does the human body heal itself? When you are cut on your skin, how do the cells know to function in the way that they do to bring about healing? How do the cells reproduce themselves? How does the digestive system, and the immunity system work? We don’t control these systems directly, do we? Was it programmed by some unknown force we call “nature” or “mother nature”? No, God is the source of these things and should be honored and praised and thanked for what He does for us.
It is an abomination to God when we exchange the truth of His position as Creator and the source of all life for some other lie.
The Israelites had turned their backs to God’s temple and looked toward the sun. This is symbolic of turning away from God and looking to a substitute. Don’t look to a man. Don’t look to the world. Don’t look to man’s wisdom. Look to God. He is the source of life and is in control of our lives.
This spot between the porch and the altar in the inner court of the Lord’s house was traditionally where the people would repent and weep for their sins, but instead they were worshiping the sun. Rather than being sanctified and increasing in holiness, and turning from their sins, the people were believing a lie about the power of the sun and had abandoned their faith in God, looking now to another source to sustain their needs for life. These were God’s people who had now looked to this lie, making this a great abomination before the Lord. Rather than seeking the Lord for His mercy they were invoking His wrath.
In conclusion we see that idolatry is based on lies. If we choose to reject the truth, we then must put our faith in a lie. The lie can be small and subtle enough to just distract our focus from the things that God wants us to focus on such as setting our affections on the spiritual things of heaven, and storing up our treasures in heaven, or trusting God without being anxious, etc. Or the lie can be large and cause us to completely turn our back on God and His truths, looking to man or some other lie.
The idol worshiper is deceived into thinking that by worshiping or honoring this idol, they will receive some benefit. There’s some promise that they hope to attain by looking to this lie, but they will never get what is promised. Therefore it is a great foolishness and will be a cause for regret in the end.
Another form of idolatry involves the secret thoughts and imaginations of our hearts that can take root and develop into a distraction from the things of God. Our inner thoughts and the way that we think needs to be transformed from the way that we thought when we were in and of the world.
Idolatry is also a means of removing our guilt while we continue in sin and feed our fleshly desires. This is part of the deception. We deceive ourselves and are led astray by the enemy of our soul.
We must be vigilant to guard against allowing these lies and deceptions to enter our minds and hearts. We must also allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see clearly the areas of our life that need to be changed or removed. God is faithful and will reward the efforts that we put towards tearing down the idols in our lives.
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding to know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:20-21