Ezekiel 6:1–8:18; Revelation 2:12–29; Job 33:1–7
Idolatry eats at our souls. And God puts up with it for only so long.
“And the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face to the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them, and you must say, “Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Yahweh, thus says the Lord Yahweh to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys: ‘Look, I am bringing upon you the sword, and I will destroy your high places, and your altars will be desolate, and your incense altars will be broken, and I will throw down your slain ones before your idols, and I will place the corpses of the children of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars’ ” (Ezek 6:1–6).
Ezekiel portrays God’s view of the true nature of idolatry and the ramifications of living an idolatrous life. When people put wood and stone, or gadgets and entertainment, before their relationship with Yahweh, they are giving up the most valuable part of themselves.
Today, most people place entertainment above God. We value celebrity more than Jesus. We may deny this, but if we closely examine how we spend our time and money, we find that we love our idols as much as the ancients did.
How can we as Christians be instruments for the changes God wants to bring to the world if we conform ourselves to the expectations of our culture? Where we invest our time, assets, and attention reveals what we care about most. If we give ourselves over to worldly priorities instead of God’s, we deserve the same fate that Yahweh prophesied for the children of Israel in Ezek 6:1–6.
But our good and gracious God wants to redeem us, and we should commit ourselves to seeking His blessing instead of His judgment (John 3:16–17; Rom 8). If we follow Him with our entire being—setting aside all that stands between us and Him—the world will look different. Idolatry will be revealed for what it is: a thief and a glutton, stealing the very lives God has in store for us. If we seek God with all our being, idolatry will hold no power over us. It will die from neglect while our lives take on new vitality as we boldly proclaim the glory of our life-giving God.
What idols stand between you and the life God has for you?
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.
John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.