Monday, August 14, 2006

Quit Playing Games

As I am making my way through Ezekiel, I am struck by a couple of passages in Chapter 20. They can be found here and here.

Over and over and over again, God continually tells the Israelites through his prophets to quit worshipping idols, to tear them down. And over and over and over again, the Israelites turn back to worshipping the idols of wood and stone.

In verse seven, God is telling them to cast away their idols and to not defile themselves with them. Why? Because He is the Lord their God! That means he has every right to command them to cast away those idols, and they have the responsibility to do so because they know He is their God.

In verse 39, it appears God is through playing games. If the Israelites will not listen to Him, then he consigns them to serving their own idols forever. But He will no longer tolerate the double-mindedness of their attempts to be His people and yet worship and serve idols.

Let us never forget that Israel is a "lesson book for the nations"...and for all of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ. Their lives, as well as what God's direction for them and response to them applies right here and right now for each of us.

So what is my idol(s)? What is yours? I seriously doubt many of us bow down to a carved image of stone and wood. But what are we serving? In America, I can almost guarantee each of us struggles with serving money and materialism. We succomb to the marketing strategies of the advertisers that convince us that we are discontented with what we have. What are we serving? An idol doesn't have to be material; it can be anything that sits in the throne of our heart, the throne that is rightfully God's. When we allow that, and yet claim to be Christians, we are being double-minded. Scripture says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).

So what is the solution? Start with, "Quit playing games!" That is the first thought that came to mind when I read verse 39. God is tired of it. If we are listening to God, then turn away from the idols. Who exactly IS your God? The triune God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or something else? Ask God to show you what is uppermost in your heart...that's what I did this morning, and it will be a continual request until I can say with confidence that the Lord alone occupies the uppermost of my affections. And as God allows you to discern your idols, do what He says in verse 7: Cast out your idols and quit defiling yourself. Idols may look nice, and we may even have them packaged in nice spiritual language...but they defile us in the eyes of God. It's going to be very difficult to continually be defiled by our idols and yet move toward our wedding day when we will be the spotless bride of Christ. We must take action. We must cast them out. We must make the conscious, active decision to live as one for whom Christ died.

May God grant each of us the wisdom and insight to identify our idols...and to quit playing games with them, turning wholly to God with ALL our heart!

No comments: