Israel’s Wicked Leaders

Jim Cymbala began at the Brooklyn Tabernacle as an ill-equipped, under-educated, time-strapped preacher who led a second congregation in New Jersey. The Brooklyn church had no money to pay him, a ramshackle building, and barely enough attendance to bother with weekly meet … More

Worship

In this passage we see who is being judged (vv. 23-31). The priests were supposed to keep God’s worship pure and teach the people right living. But the worship of God had become commonplace to them, they ignored the Sabbath, and they refused to teach the people (v. 26). They no longer carried out their God-given duties (Lev. 10:10,11). When doing God’s work becomes no more important than any mundane task, we are no longer giving God the reverence He deserves. Instead of bringing God down to our level, we should live up to His level.

The wall spoken of here is not made of stones (v. 30). Instead it is made of faithful people united in their efforts to resist evil. This wall was in disrepair because there was no one who could lead the people back to God. The feeble attempts to repair the gap through religious rituals or messages based on opinion rather than on God’s will were as worthless as whitewash, only covering over the real problems. What the people needed was total spiritual reconstruction! When we give the appearance of loving God without living His way, we are covering up sins that could eventually damage us beyond repair.

All segments of the social structure are seen as being in utter decay. It is noteworthy that the prophet, who should get his message directly from God, tops the list. His influence is the greatest, either for good or bad. The priests are next. When worship, innate in man, is directed to Satan, rather than the Lord of Creation, the end is very near.

Application

I must guard against using religion as a whitewash in my life but always apply the principles of God’s Word in each of life’s situations that I may face.

Ezekiel 22:23-31 (English Standard Version)

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation. The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD."

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