Abominations in the Temple

Hideyoshi, a Japanese warlord who ruled over Japan in the late 1500s, commissioned a colossal statue of Buddha for a shrine in Kyoto. It took 50,000 men five years to build, but the work had scarcely been completed when the earthquake of 1596 brought the roof of the s … More

Idolatry

A series of visions by Ezekiel begin in chapters 8-11, relating particularly to the evils in Jerusalem among those not yet in exile. Chapter 8 concerns itself with the abominable kinds of idolatry currently practiced in Jerusalem. In fact, it was happening in the very Temple built for the worship of the God of heaven. God views idolatry as the most abominable kind of sin that man can engage in. Other sins are against lower forms of creation and against fellow man. But idolatry is against the Lord God Himself. When man practices idolatry he either refuses to recognize Him at all, or at best places Him alongside the many lesser gods. When man fails to give due recognition and worship to God, he then becomes a law to himself.

After showing Ezekiel the various forms of idolatrous worship then being perpetrated in the Temple in Jerusalem, God says that He will deal in fury, and will not listen to their cry. This vision occurred 14 months after Ezekiel’s call. The image of jealousy may perhaps have been a replacement of the image of the Canaanite goddess Asherah, originally set up by King Manasseh (II Kings 21:7) and subsequently destroyed by Josiah (II Kings 23:6), who  burned the Asherah pole. This was the goddess of fertility whose character encouraged sexual immorality and self gratification.

In scene after scene God revealed to Ezekiel the extent to which the people had embraced idolatry and wickedness. God’s Spirit works with us in a similar way, revealing the sin that lurks in our lives.

Application

Bill Gothard defines idolatry as trusting people, possessions or positions to do for me what only God can do. As someone has said, today’s idols are more in the self than on the shelf. I do not want anything to ever become more important in my life than my wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel 8:1-6 (English Standard Version)

In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. 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. He put out the form of a hand and took me 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, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley. Then he said to me, "Son of man, lift up your eyes now toward the north." So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and behold, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy. And he said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations."

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