idolatry & redemption
By Daniel Kennedy
November 5, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
I have a confession to make: I am an idolater. Over the years, I have idolized many things, setting them as objects of my worship over and above God. They include, among many others, prestige, wealth, success, and even my outward appearance. We live in a culture that worships these things, and must constantly give our hearts back to Jesus - indeed, we must die to ourselves daily, in order to find true life in Jesus Christ.
In Ezekiel 14, we see the Israelites in their long pattern of idolatry - of repeatedly turning toward God, then away from him, over hundreds of years. In verse 4, the Lord shares with Ezekiel his sadness and anger over the "stumbling block" of the Israelites' idols, and tells Ezekiel that He will personally confront them, so that He "may lay hold of their hearts, who "are all estranged from me through their idols." Essentially, the Israelites were elevating the worship of other gods - those that other cultures worshiped who were contemporaneous with the Israelites - above the one, true God, and the Lord was, once again, calling the Israelites back to Himself.
But why was there such a recurring pattern of idolatry among the Israelites over the years? The short answer: they believed they didn't need God, and could find their true source of fulfillment and lasting satisfaction in things on this earth. In Psalm 105:40-45, we see, in fact, that the Israelities (just like us), were utterly dependent on God for everything, and He alone was ultimately they they needed for life and lasting happiness: "He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night. They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance... He opened the rock, and water gushed out; he gave them the lands of the nations."
Fundamentally, we must place our true source of happiness, self worth and satisfaction in Jesus Christ - and in Christ alone. No other source, object or thing will ever truly satisfy us. "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after You O God." I believe C.S. Lewis said it best:
"Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in."
False prophets and those who seek their guidance will all be punished for their sins.
Prayer to start with: Dear Lord Jesus, I find myself looking to idols for my source of self worth and satisfaction pretty much every day. Please help me. Help me to find the things on this earth less appealing every day, and help me to focus on the things above that are eternal. Help me to fix my eyes on You, and You alone. Thank you, Jesus, for your redeeming and unconditional love.