In most instances, a child caught in the act of misbehaving immediately responds with “It wasn’t me” followed by “Everyone else was doing it” and ends with “I’m sorry”.
It begins with just wanting to get along with those around us. It grows to wanting to join in on what is being done because we want to be accepted, too. After a while of playing along, we become enthralled by all it has to offer to satisfy our basic needs, and it becomes our new normal and it’s okay. We’re believe we’re not really hurting anyone. We’re still making a living and putting food on the table, so how wrong can this lifestyle be?
Occasionally, we might stop for a minute to think about what we are doing with our past knowledge of learning about God but we shrugged off what we knew for we have attached ourselves to what is it is now. It is not right but is it so wrong if we don’t get caught? We gloss it up and make it look good. We justify it with thinking that if every is doing it and surviving and thriving, it must be okay. Look at how we are prospering, look how we are getting along as a society, look how it has made us look good to others who also want to look good. What is it? It is called sin and stands between God and mankind.
Ezekiel is gripped by God with a message that brings mankind face to face with his sin.
Ezekiel 8, The Message
The Spirit Carried Me in Visions
1-4 In the sixth year, in the sixth month and the fifth day, while I was sitting at home meeting with the leaders of Judah, it happened that the hand of my Master, God, gripped me. When I looked, I was astonished. What I saw looked like a man—from the waist down like fire and from the waist up like highly burnished bronze. He reached out what looked like a hand and grabbed me by the hair. The Spirit swept me high in the air and carried me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the Temple’s inside court where the image of the sex goddess that makes God so angry had been set up. Right before me was the Glory of the God of Israel, exactly like the vision I had seen out on the plain.
5 He said to me, “Son of man, look north.” I looked north and saw it: Just north of the entrance loomed the altar of the sex goddess, Asherah, that makes God so angry.
6 Then he said, “Son of man, do you see what they’re doing? Outrageous obscenities! And doing them right here! It’s enough to drive me right out of my own Temple. But you’re going to see worse yet.”
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7 He brought me to the door of the Temple court. I looked and saw a gaping hole in the wall.
8 He said, “Son of man, dig through the wall.”
I dug through the wall and came upon a door.
9 He said, “Now walk through the door and take a look at the obscenities they’re engaging in.”
10-11 I entered and looked. I couldn’t believe my eyes: Painted all over the walls were pictures of reptiles and animals and monsters—the whole pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses—being worshiped by Israel. In the middle of the room were seventy of the leaders of Israel, with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan standing in the middle. Each held his censer with the incense rising in a fragrant cloud.
12 He said, “Son of man, do you see what the elders are doing here in the dark, each one before his favorite god-picture? They tell themselves, ‘God doesn’t see us. God has forsaken the country.’”
13 Then he said, “You’re going to see worse yet.”
* * *
14-15 He took me to the entrance at the north gate of the Temple of God. I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian fertility god. He said, “Have you gotten an eyeful, son of man? You’re going to see worse yet.”
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16 Finally, he took me to the inside court of the Temple of God. There between the porch and the altar were about twenty-five men. Their backs were to God’s Temple. They were facing east, bowing in worship to the sun.
17-18 He said, “Have you seen enough, son of man? Isn’t it bad enough that Judah engages in these outrageous obscenities? They fill the country with violence and now provoke me even further with their obscene gestures. That’s it. They have an angry God on their hands! From now on, no mercy. They can shout all they want, but I’m not listening.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND TODAY?
Above everything else, God’s servants need to focus on the glory of God. Ezekiel was “gripped by God” and taken to see the sins of God’s people face to face. This was God’s way of affirming the call He had given to Ezekeil to proclaim Truth. Even the leaders, hid in the dark, to promote the obscenities of their perverted sins. Who will tell the Truth, stand on Truth as a solid foundation, and live Truth? Ezekiel! Today it is all who believe and call on the Name of Truth—Jesus, God’s Son.
When all around us gives way to evil’s thinking and behaviors, who will stand, livea and speak Truth, by God’s leading of His Holy Spirit, to bring us all face to face with the sin that wants to destroy our relationship with God? Who loves me enough to bring me face to face with my sin in order to save me from it? Who do I love enough to help find, believe, and follow Jesus so they will be rescued from sin’s hold on them?
When we are gripped by grace the answer is you and I. We are the ones, saved by grace, to lead others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we are all called and commanded to tell and live the Truth. (See Matthew 28, 2 Corinthians 5)
God still cares and watches over us as He calls us to tell the story of redemption through Jesus, His Son. God’s servants may think that their greatest need is to see new visions and hear new voices, but the Lord doesn’t always work that way. Instead, He often meets the need by giving us a fresh experience of the original call. The Lord reminded Ezekiel that God was still on the throne by allowing him to see His glory at work! God does that for us, too! Seeing God’s glory at work around us and in us shows us His continued providential care and relentless love for us. What more did Ezekiel need to know? What more do we need to know?
When God brings us face to face with our own sins, what do we do? Deny, hide, and justify or humble ourselves before him, repent and be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb who died for all our sins? The latter has much grander benefits. It’s a matter of life or death, really.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul
It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul…
Thank you for bringing me face to face with my sins. How foolish to think that my sin wasn’t as bad as other’s sins. How wrong to think my sins could be hidden. I would rather be in your grip of grace than be chained to sin. Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. Thank you for showing me your glory at work in my life and in those around me. You’re not finished with us yet. Your story still needs to be told. Until we see you face to face, grow us in your love, mercy and grace.
In Jesus Name, Amen
The guilty nation could cry out for mercy, but God would not listen to them, and they couldn’t appeal to a higher court. He had given them opportunity after opportunity to turn from their sins, but they refused to listen; now He wouldn’t listen to them.
Camp on that thought for a minute.