Ezekiel 13 & 14:
When “sadness” is a good thing
Chapter 13.22 says, “Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life.”
Ezekiel told the false prophets they had it backwards, they were making the heart of the righteous sad and actually encouraging sinners whom God had made sad as a means of saving their lives. When we merely try to make people “feel better” about sin and unrighteousness, we often get in the way of what God is doing.
Idols of the heart
1 Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. 2 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD. “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”’
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD. “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. (14.1-6)
God told the prophet to warn the people that they had “idols in their hearts.” When we think of idolatry, we usually think of some false god or statue to which we bow down, but the idols Ezekiel wrote about were not just statues; they were what the people valued, what they put their trust in. Could you and I be worshipping idols?
An idol can be anything we want more than God Himself. It can be something that consumes our life and pushes God out of His rightful place. It’s what we trust in to bring us pleasure, satisfaction, rescue, or escape. It’s anything we want more than pleasing God with our lives.
When we have sex outside of marriage, we may be worshipping pleasure or companionship. When we walk away from a marriage because we aren’t “happy,” we’re valuing our happiness or having our own way above pleasing God.
Even a good thing, like having a godly husband, can become an idol. If we’re willing to sin to get it (nagging, criticizing …) or sin because we don’t (withholding affection …), that thing—whether good or bad—is an idol. Continue reading