September 5: Ezekiel 8
1 Samuel 29–30; 1 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 8; Psalms 46–47
Ezekiel has prophesied among Israel’s exiles in Babylon for a little over a year (1). Now the exiles’ elders inquire of him, evidently and understandably about home. Thus he receives a vision about Jerusalem.
At first he sees an “image of jealousy” before the altar (5-6). Whatever it was, it was not good. Then he sees seventy elders worshiping images of created things (7-13), in the dark, “each in his own room of pictures” (12). Pornography is idolatry and nothing new.
Then he sees women “weeping for Tammuz” (14-15). This was a fertility cult that required sexual immorality.
Finally, he sees twenty-five elders, turned away from the temple, facing east, worshiping the sun (16). Adam and Eve were cast out “east of Eden;” the way back into the Garden is west. Israel’s worship has become not only perverted but also inverted.
From perverted, inverted worship flows evil living: they fill the land with violence (17). Thus God only reserves wrath and silence for them (18).
Secret idolatry and immorality repulse God and repel His presence, dividing men and women, leading to unfruitfulness and violence. Sounds like the modern West. The only way of escape is to repent to living before the face of God, in rightly ordered worship. But this first requires cleansing by blood, for all our idolatries. This God would graciously provide later, His own Son crying out from a Roman cross, not being heard (18), taking our wrath upon himself, that we might be cleansed, by faith in him.
Be cleansed; come alive again; and walk in that newness of life (Romans 6:4).
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