Could I be worshiping idols? Could you? Don’t think so … where do we run for pleasure, satisfaction, rescue, or escape? What are our “if only’s” and “I must’s”? Could there even be “good things” that have become idols in our lives?
How can we be sure that we don’t have false gods, things we’re depending on more than God Himself? Things that have become more important to us than they should?
God warned the nation of Israel over and over to repent and turn from idolatry. Their refusal to do so took them into captivity and cost them the loss of their land, their homes, their freedom, and often their families.
What about our nation? It’s obvious to anyone who understands spiritual truth that we are on a downhill slide morally, but is it possible that idolatry, magic, and witchcraft have gone on behind closed doors in the highest places in our nation?
Some of what I’ll be sharing today may seem far-fetched or even political, but that’s not my intention. We are called to be watchmen and when we see danger coming, the blood of others is on our hands if we refuse to sound the alarm.
Ezekiel 13 & 14
Could We Be Worshiping Idols?
Ezekiel 13 & 14:
When “Sadness” is a Good Thing
After years of calling His people back, sending prophets, and many warnings, God’s judgment had been set in motion. Yet, throughout the process, God instructed Ezekiel to act out various parts and speak to them so they would understand the why … that they would come to know that He alone is the Lord.
In this chapter Ezekiel calls out false prophets and deceivers:
17 “Now, son of man, speak out against the women who prophesy from their own imaginations. 18 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves? 19 You bring shame on me among my people for a few handfuls of barley or a piece of bread. By lying to my people who love to listen to lies, you kill those who should not die, and you promise life to those who should not live.
20 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against all your magic charms, which you use to ensnare my people like birds. I will tear them from your arms, setting my people free like birds set free from a cage. 21 I will tear off the magic veils and save my people from your grasp. They will no longer be your victims. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. 23 Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (emphasis added).
Ezekiel told the false prophets they had it backward. They were making the heart of the righteous sad. Perhaps much like today as godly people are accused of being self-righteous or intolerant and encouraged to doubt their own convictions or, at least, fear voicing them. And they were reassuring sinners whom God had made sad (through fear of consequences, guilt, or conviction) as a means of saving their lives.
Even though our intention may not be the same as the false prophets, we can mistakenly try to make people “feel better” about sin and unrighteousness. When we do, we get in the way of what God is doing, too.
This can be especially true of our own grown or nearly grown children. Too often parents with the best of intentions bail their children out of financial and legal hardships only to have them continue the same behavior and worse. Often, the most loving thing we can do is allow the natural consequences of their choices to run their course.
Of course, as a nation, we have tried to soften the effects of sin and sinful lifestyles on an epic scale. Rather than calling people to repentance, we have simply changed the terms from sin to sickness to choice and, finally, to a right.
Magic & Idolatry in the Highest Places
During Ezekiel’s time, magic and the worship of false gods and goddesses was taking place at the highest levels, even inside the temple itself (Ezek. 8.3-17). But did you know that there has been an upsurge in interest and even involvement in magic and demon worship at some of the highest levels of our own government and with the Washington social élite in recent years?
I recently wrote about the upsurge in magic and its acceptability and shared a podcast by Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who was discussing the subject. If you missed it, you can read the post here or listen to the podcast.
But I was shocked to learn that some of this went on during the Clinton Administration in the White House itself.
I recently caught an interview on the radio with Dr. James Dobson and Jonathan Cahn who has written a new book called The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times.
While I don’t agree with everything Dr. Dobson has written in the area of psychology, there is hardly a Christian leader alive who is more respected and done more good when it comes to the moral issues of our times.
Dr. Dobson, who is certainly not on the fridge of Christian thinking, praised the book and its author, Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic rabbi and biblical scholar.
Rabbi Cahn had this to say in his book:
At the end of 1994 after a series of crushing defeats, Bill and Hillary Clinton invited a gathering of leaders to Camp David to give them counsel. No one who could have provided them with biblical counsel was invited. Hillary would personally invite two of them to meet with her again, this time in the White House, in the upper room called the solarium. She would bring them back into the White House over and over again. They were spiritual counselors of a different kind.
He went on:
It was not just that none of the counselors invited by the Clintons to Camp David could be considered biblical. Several of them could be and were seen as counselors of the “new age.” Of the two Hillary Clinton then brought into the White House, Jean Houston was one of the most prominent new age leaders in the world. She had been called the “New Age Svengali.”
Houston ministered a repackaged version of pantheism that held that all was God and God was all. Thus all was divine and all was to be worshipped. Pantheism had been around in one form or another since ancient times. It was a form of pagan spirituality.
Hillary Clinton’s meetings with new age ministers in the White House were not just meetings— they were sessions. During these sessions, the first lady would go into something of an altered state of consciousness. She would then speak as the departed. One of the departed given voice by the first lady was Eleanor Roosevelt.
When the story leaked to the press that Hillary Clinton was holding séances in the White House, there was an immediate campaign of damage control. It was claimed that what took place during these sessions was simply a form of brainstorming— only it wasn’t.
Cahn, Jonathan. The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times (p. 50). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.
Even before hearing the interview and later reading The Paradigm for myself, I realized how greatly I’ve been shaken this year by my reading through the major prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. It’s almost impossible to do a thoughtful reading without seeing the parallels between the nation of Israel as they descended into apostasy and our own.
And while you and I may not be prophets in the same sense as those in the Old Testament, we are all called to proclaim the words of Scripture and to be watchmen on the wall (Ezek. 33.2-6).
If you want to know more about the book, you can read the summary at the bottom of the post.
But is it possible that those of us who love God and are horrified by much of what we are witnessing in our nation could be getting dangerously close or even practicing a form of idolatry ourselves?
Could You & I Be Worshiping Idols?
Let’s take a look at the first few verses of chapter 14:
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 here were not statues; they were what the people valued and in which they put their trust.
An idol can be anything we want more than God Himself. It can be something that consumes our lives and pushes God out of His rightful place (a job, a goal, a hobby, a desire). It’s what we trust in to bring us pleasure, satisfaction, rescue, or escape (food, alcohol, drugs, sex). It’s anything we want more than pleasing God with our lives (a spouse, a nice home, a new car, money in the bank).
When we have sex outside of marriage, we may be worshiping 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 have it (withholding affection …), that thing—whether good or bad—is an idol.
Verse 3 goes on to say they had “put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity.” They were blinded by their own idols. When something is right in front of your face—you can’t see anything else.
What controls your thinking and behavior? What are you living for? What do you think is the one thing that will make you happy?
What are your “if only’s”?
“If only, my husband had a better job.”
“If only, we had a bigger house.”
“If only, I was married.”
“If only, I could get pregnant.”
And what are your “I must’s”?
“I must have children who obey me!”
“I must have a godly husband!”
“I must have a wife who respects me!”
“I must be able to trust my husband!”
“I must have a good job.”
“I must have a career I can fall back on.”
It’s not that it’s wrong to desire a godly husband, or a respectful wife, or a career, or obedient children, but when those things start to control our thinking and behavior, it can lead us straight into idolatry!
So could you be worshiping something besides God? If you never get that thing you want, would you still love, worship and serve God and trust in His goodness?
If you realize there’s something you have been wanting too much, something that has become an idol in your heart, the answer is still the same; verse 6b, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Repent, turn away from your idols …’” and put your faith in Christ alone. He is enough!
Today’s Other Readings:
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Verse 6 instructs us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Even though God is working through the church in this age, the Jews are still His people. He loves them and blesses those who pray for them.
“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!”
Again God wants us to do our part, whether by being faithful, honest, hard-working employees or being good stewards of what He has provided. When we do our part, He gives us more than enough.
He Lives … and He Lives to Pray for Us!
What comfort we can find in verse 25:
“… He always lives to make intercession for [us].
Jesus our Great High Priest lives to make intercession for us!
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll discuss what it means to be children of light, generational sin, a slippery spiritual path, playing spiritual games, and whether church is necessary or optional?
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Is it possible that there exists an ancient master blueprint that holds the secret behind the events of our times?
Could this blueprint lie behind the rise and fall of leaders and governments?
Could events that took place nearly 3,000 years ago now be determining the course of our world and with it the course of our lives?
Could ancient figures from the Middle East hold the key to the leaders of our own day, what they do, when they rise, and when they fall?
Is it possible that this ancient paradigm has determined not only the events of modern times but also their timing—even down to the exact dates?
Could a mystery from the ancient Middle East have foretold the outcomes of current events more accurately than any poll or expert—even the outcomes of presidential elections?
Has this mystery even touched the events of your life?
Does the paradigm reveal what will take place in the future?
And does it contain a warning critical for every person in this generation?
Prepare to be stunned, shocked, illuminated, and amazed. The Paradigm will reveal secrets and mysteries taking place all around you and show you what you never could have imagined. Jonathan Cahn, who caused an international stir with his New York Times best-selling book The Harbinger, will take you from the ancient Middle East to the news of the modern world on a journey you will never forget. As you open up The Paradigm, his most explosive book yet, you may never see your world the same way again.
Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone
Many people desire to live godly lives but feel trapped in habitual sins. They trip over the same bad habit, embarrassing weakness, or sinful slavery they wanted to be free of years ago. In this book author Elyse Fitzpatrick reveals that at the heart of every besetting sin lies idolatry.
Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart
In gods at war, Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of not a fan, helps every believer recognize there are false gods at war within each of us, and they battle for the place of glory and control in our lives. What keeps us from truly following Jesus is that our hearts are pursuing something or someone else. While these pursuits may not be the “graven images” of old, they are in fact modern day idols. Behind the sin you’re struggling with, the discouragement you’re dealing with, the lack of purpose you’re living with is a false god that is winning the war for your heart.
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