Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 months ago

Modern Idolatry: Still Rotten

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Your eight and nine I so I'm reading two chapters tonighteskil eight and nine. So as I read these, I promise you that if you check out atthe beginning, you're not going to get anything, it's dense and strange and complicated in some ways. But if you, if you strive to listen and to listencarefully, I think you will understand and you'llbe able to follow it and, of course I will go through it as I preach and I'llhelp along the way there and kids. I promise that you will I'm here somevery interesting things in these chapters, things that you will havequestions about and want to know more about. So let's give our attention untoGod's bread now in his Egel, eight and nine in the sixth year in the sixthmonth on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders ofJudah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord God fell upon me. There then, I looked and behold a man thathad of a form that had the appearance of a man below what appeared to be his waist wasfire and above his waist, was something like the appearance of brightness likegleaming metal, and he put out the form of a hand andtook me by a lock of my head and the spirit lifted me up between heaven andearth and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem to the entrance of theGateway of the inner courts that faces north. Where was the seat of the imageof Jealousy, which provokes jealousy and behold the glory of God of Israel?was there like the vision that I saw in the valley, then he said to me: Son of man lift upyour eyes now toward the north, so I lifted up my eyes toward the north andbehold north of the altar gate in the entrance. Was this image of jealousyand he said to me, son of Man: Do you see what they are doing? The greatabominations that the House of Israel are committing here to drive me farfrom my sanctuary? But you will still see greater abominations and he broughtme to the entrance of the court and when I looked behold there was a holein the wall.

Then he said to me: Son of man dig inthe wall, so I dug in the wall and behold there was an entrance and hesaid to me, go in and see the vile abominations that they are committingthere. So I went in and saw and there engraved on the wall all around wasevery form of creeping things and loathes and beasts, and all the idolsof the House of Israel and before them stood seventy men of the elders of theHouse of Israel with Jaazaniah the son of Chaffa standing among them. Each hadhis censer in his hand and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Then he said to me, son of man: Haveyou seen what the elders of the House of Israel are doing in the dark each inhis room of pictures, for they say the Lord does not see us.The Lord has forsaken the land. He said. Also to me, you will still,you will see it see, still greater abominations that they commit. Then he brought me to the entrance ofthe North Gate of the House of the Lord and behold. There sat women weeping forTamas. Then he said to me: Have you seen the Osan of man? You will seestill greater abominations than these, and he brought me into the Inner Courtof the House of the Lord and behold at the entrance of the Temple of Godbetween the Porch and the altar. There were about twenty five men with theirbacks to the temple of their Lord of the Lord and their faces toward theEast worshipping the sun toward the East. Then he said to me: Have you seenthis O son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to committhe abominations that they commit here that they should fill the land withviolence and provoke me still further to anger? Behold they put the branch totheir nose. Therefore, I will act in rap. My eye will not spare it, nor willI have pity and though they cry in my ears with a loud voice. I will not hearthem, then he cried in my ears or then he cried in my ears with a loud voicesaying bring near the executioners of this city each with his destroyingweapon in his hand and behold, six men came from the direction of the uppergate which faces north each with his weapon for his for slaughter in hishand and with them was a man clothed in linen with a riding case at his waist,and they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel hadgone up from the Cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house,and he called to the man clothed in linen who had the riding case at hiswaist and the Lord said to him passed through the city through Jerusalem andput a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and grown over all theabominations that are committed in it...

...and to the others. He said in myhearing passed through the city after him and strike your eye shall not spareand your, and you shall show no pity, kill old men outright young men andmaidens little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark andbegin at my sanctuary. So they began with the elders who were before thehouse. Then he said to them: Defile the Houseand fill the courts with the slain go out and they went out and struck in thecity and while they were striking and while they were striking- and I wasleft alone- I fell upon my face and I cried. Ah, Lord God, will you destroyall the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your Raff on Jerusalem?Then he said to me: The guilt of the House of Israel and Judah isexceedingly great. The land is full of blood of a city full of injustice, forthey say the Lord is forsaken the land and the Lord does not see. As for me, my eye I will not spare, norwill I have pity I will bring their deeds upon their heads and behold. The man clothed in linenwith the riding case at his waist brought back word saying: I have doneas you commanded me. A God bless his word to us so about fourteen months after theopening vision that is egil has, he is not in the valley, as he once was,but he is now with the elders of Israel at his house when he has taken into a vision. I zekiel doesn't say here. The worddoesn't say here why the elders were with him at this point in time, but wesee a couple other instances in the book and Chapter Twenty. In particular,it mentions that they were inquiring of the Lord and that's probably what'shappening here as well. The elders are coming remember, I zekelis in exile, these elders in the exile and they are coming or during the time of the exile theycome and they are perhaps hoping for a good word but, as we know from ISEKA's ministry,his prophetic ministry so far, his word has not been a good one in thesense of a comfortable one or a pleasure enor or a very hopeful one. No, it is a vision that is hard, a vision that is full of the wrath andfury of God, a vision that is full of idolatry andabominations and guilt. That is just heaped up. The people, God says, are exceedinglyguilty. You know in your life that there aresometimes you do things sometimes other...

...do other people do things that you kindof go. It was bad, but we can overlook it and there are other times we go.That was pretty bad and then there are other times it'slike as guilty as sin. As we say it, it's just beyond obvious that whathas been done is just over the top outlandishly wrong and evil and must bepunished, and it's those cases in particular thatare wet are that are so wrong and so evil and so awful. When in the worldthey go unpunished, it tends to drive people crazy. Itmakes us so angry and so upset when great evils are done, sometimes they're, very public when we see them in our society and ourculture and sometimes they're they're private. Some things are known onlywithin a familywhen such and such brother or such and such sister or aparent does something that is just way out there really wrong, and everyone says thishas to be dealt with and dealt with now. That's where Israel is at. They havebeen warned over and over and over again what has been gone that what isgoing wrong. They have been called to repentance over and over again and nowthe land is full of bloodshed and violence and idolatry, and the Lordsays enough. The measure of sin has reached its top judgment is coming, and so, as these elders come and aremeeting with his Egel, it is at this moment when the hand of God he says inverse, One Falls Upon Him and he sees the same one whom he saw atthe beginning. He sees this one who has the appearanceof brightness like gleaming metal above his waist and fire blow before when he had this vision of him.He, the rainbow, was also wrapped around him and he was seated upon theCherubim seated upon these great wheels of Rat and judgment that same one is nowspeaking to him again, and it marks a new section in the book of chapters.Eight, nine, ten and eleven were, of course, looking at the first two ofthose to night, and this, I believe, is the Lord, the Lord, who has commissioned a Zekiel.The Lord seeks a speaks in judgment, the Lord that same Lord, who is alsospoken of in revelation, crowned with glory and honor, to whom all the angels, Cherubin worship and a door,...

...our God who is now coming in judgment. He inverse three. He puts out the form of a hand and takes him by his hair, a lockof his head and the spirit amazing picture. The spirit lifts Izekel up between Heaven and earth. It says, and he is caught up in thevisions of God to Jerusalem, so his not physically in Jerusalem, butthe Lord is giving him visions by the spirit of God, to see Jerusalem and he's going to take his ekel on atour, but not an nice tour or he points outvarious architectural features and reminds him of interesting facts andhistory. But it is a tour of Abominations, atour of idolatry. It is in a way the God presenting tothe Prophet the evidence of why he is about to do what he is about to do.Lord has done this already in the book, and he does it again here in thisvision and as he does as he gives him thistour, he gets closer and closer to the presence of the Lord in the temple. Hestarts at the North Gate, I'm just outside of it, and we read that, as he looks towardthe north, this is in verse five. He sees north of the altar gate in theentrance, the image of jealousy he doesn't say exactly what this is,but this is you taking that language of image and an idol very likely standing there at the entrance just outside the entrance to the gatestanding as a kind of guard, and this provokes the Lord to Jealousy. You can understand- why imagine that let's say you're married and at spouseand your spouse before they go to bed at night. They take a little picture ofof another man or another woman, and they put it right there by their bedand they smile at it and they love it and they're just so filled with itwould tear your heart out, wouldn't it if your spouse was in love with thisother person. Well, here is the temple of the Lord,the plays where God has set his presence among his people, the placewhere God ess said. I will be with you and you who will be with me andtogether we will be intimate together...

...and there is this image of another of another God. Ezekiel is then taken further into the the the temple complex and he'splaced at the entrance of the temple courtyard outside a wall, and perhapssome kind of dirt or something, and he sees a hole in the wall and he'stold to dig and he digs through, and what does he find is he, as he looks in,he finds a secret room, and what we find is that the idolatry is not justout there and the people among the peoples are out outside of the temple,but it's inside the temple complex too, there are in there. This is verse,seven and following he digs in the wall. He sees these vile, vile abominations,and what does he see and verse tenant says engraved on the wall he's lookingin all around? I was every form of creeping things and loathes and beastsin all the idols of the House of Israel. And what comes to my mind, there arethose pictures of the the Egyptian pyramids right walls covered with idolsand pictures all the things that they they would worship but notice. What itsays. These are the idols of the House of Israel, say what Israel is not, but the House of Israelis not supposed to have idols so unify. Have they become that these now belongto the people? They're, no longer the idols of Canaan, they are the idols ofIsrael and they are there in the house of the Lord, and not only does he see the wallscovered with these things, engrave somebody took the time to cut and cutand impress and design and create this thing he sees, and there are the seventy menof the elders, not just people, but the elders, peoplewho were in charge, people who are called to guard and protect, watch andrule the elders of the House of Israel offering incense each of themparticipating in this idolatrous worship. And this not only the the the Zeki told this not only is happeninghere, but it is what they are doing in the dark each in his own room ofpictures. The elders of Israel are saying- andthis is repeated a few times in these chapters- The Lord doesn't see, and I think that's meant in two senses.One they feel that the Lord has rejected them, so they can do what theywant. They also feel that they can do whatthey want, because he's not watching he's not looking. They are going to goafter their own idols. The Lord does not see, as they say, he's forsaken theland, and so they have given themselves...

...over to abominations. But as we see in this vision, the Lord does see. The idol outside the gate is notprotecting them from the wrath of the Lord, the idols that are there insidethe gate and the elders worshipping these things and not protecting themfrom danger. They are creating a very dangerous situation. This tour of abominations continueuniverse, fourteen where he is brought to the entrance of the North Gate ofthe House of the Lord and there the women are seen weeping for Tamas when commentator says weeping forTama's was a Babylonian ritual marking the death an entrance into the underworld of yet another God, the idea of being that you would godown into the underworld and then from that under world would come new lifeand fertility, and these kind of things that Romans and Greeks had similar kindof ideas, and here in the temple, they are weeping in mourning, hopingprobably to reduce somehow the the death that theyare experiencing, but instead they are bringing death on themselves. And, finally, if it weren't bad enough,all over this temple, complex men and women, elders lay people. This is a awful false worship in the very templeof God. He's brought then in verse. Sixteen into the Inner House into theInner Court of the House of the Lord- and what does he say he says, between the Porch and the Altare, theporch that entered up into that temple and the altar that was outside of it.There were about twenty five men, but instead of them going into the inner courts and going in to worshipthe Lord who was in that innermost place, their backs are to him and they're bowing down and worshippingthe sun toward the East, the most holy place in all the world. The place where God has set his nameand promised to dwell with his people has be come a overrun with idolatry andpaganism. They have literally turned their backs on God. Worshipping The Sun when right behindthem is the one who made the sun who...

...set it in its place, the ruler of the one who rules the dayand the night and the Lord has had enough. I will actin my wrath. He says I will not spare them. I will not have pity like he didwith Sodom and Gamora, like he did in the days of Noah. When this fullmeasure of sin has reached its top and overflowed God says enough and he will not relent and though they cry in my ears with aloud voice, I will not hear them and then in Justine, then he cried inmy ears with a loud voice saying bring nearer the executioners of the city andthen what we see are these six men these again, these are in his vision, these six, these six men and oneclothed in linen like a priest. These six are going to pass through thecity, much like God, passed through the cities in Egypt, passing over those who were covered bythe blood of the lamb, but passing through and executing judgment on. Allwho did not have who were not marked by the Lord and they will not spare. They will kill and bring judgment on the young and theold men and the women, the adults and thechildren. Only those who are not marked by thisman with the linen by this priest, but the writing tablet only they will bespared at all else, will be given over to that. Your judgment, their justjudgment in their idolatry. This is what's coming and at the end of all of these things,we see that the Lord comes through comes out of the this most holy place and he comes tothe entrance of the entrance of the temple and then what we will see next time.I'm sorry, let me read that in verse, Chapter Nine verse, three, the glory ofthe God of Israel, had gone up from the Cherub on which it rested to thethreshold of the House. Remember that when Solomon prayed in the constructionof the Temple, the Lord descended on this place and a great cloud of smoke and muchlike he did on Mount Horab when he gave the law he descended on this place. Butnow he is moving and he's moving away. He moves off of the chair off of thatplace where he is in the most holy...

...place and now the glory of the God ofIsrael moves on which it rested. He is on the move. The wheels are turning thewheels of justice are turning and now he moves to the threshold of the Houseand what we will see in the coming chapters is that he's leaving the glory of the Lord is departing fromIsrael, his protection, his love, his place on them, his keeping his name, heis leaving and he will bring down his wrath uponthe enough is enough. Now I wish I could tell you that theLord did this and the world never fell into idolatryagain that we learned our lesson: The wegentiles and Jews alike. We I looked at this moment in history and we said notdoing that again, idolatry not for us, but of course you know, that's not true the idolatry and the abomination,violence and bloodshed. These continue to this day, all over the world, and even here in our own city, there are many many many people whorefuse to worship the Lord who turn their backs on him every day and worship the creation instead of theCreator, people we know, may be some one or some of you here. People going after custom madespiritualities their own paths, their own ways, their own ideas, people, our culture, praises people whoare open to multiple paths of spirituality, multiple paths to God. Our culture makes it sound all verynice, it's not very nice, it's an abomination to the Lord, and it willbring judgment. The Lord returns leave a radio station, maybe more thanone I don't know, regularly, plays and calls people tosubmit themselves to energies and powers of various kinds. We have friends and family that worshipancestors about a block from here. There's arestaurant with an idol in it, yon go and put fruit in front of it. You cango and purchase all kinds of idolatrous things, it's not hard to find...

...and, of course, there's not just images but gods of money, power and fame people that willsacrifice everything and anything for these things. Money in particular all over people who are sack willsacrifice their time, their money, their or their energy, their family andtheir friends. They'll sacrifice their happiness so that they can get money it's insane, but it happens all the time. What we need to know and understandfrom this vision is how dangerous this path is. The world makes it sound all nice andsurely in Israel they did as well. The Lord he's not taking care of us. Theland is suffering the law. Babath RS, all this and all that, let's be open,minded let's find different ways: Let's notoppress people with this one singular truth of Ya way: Let's affirm people and in theiridolatry, let's affirm people in finding their own paths and their ownwaves. But the Lord is very very plain and clear on these points. First CRINTH IANS, ten fourteen saysyou cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the Cup of Demons. You cannot serve both God and money.Jesus says these things are offensive to God. Wecannot downplay them. We cannot ignore them. The world will say it's not a bigdeal. The Lord doesn't see it doesn't matter. These excuses have been tried before and they have failed in. All this is equil feels very lone. He feels very alone and, as the House of God is defiled, that hefalls on his face and he feels like he's left all alone, and sometimes we can feel that way as well. It can feel, like God has abandoned us,like he's left us in a world that is so focused on its sin, sometimes refusing to fall after thegods of this world creates uncomfortableness persecution, suffering Christians find themselves inconcentration camps. We find themselves without their heads. They find themselves in all kinds ofdifficult places in jail and elsewhere...

...they find themselves separated fromtheir family from their wealth. These things happen and we feel the pressure to go alongand get along, but what this history teaches us, whatthis vision about this history teaches us is that God is strong, that God is just that, God does in factsee. It also teaches us some other thingsand I'll close with this. One thing it teaches us is that God isimmensely patient with us at any one of these sins. He would be right to strikeany one person dead in a moment. Totally Fair, God is perfectly holy. He is perfect inevery way and he is so so patient. How long would you wait for somebody tofill your house with all kinds of people and things that don't belongthere if your neighbors just started coming over all the time and takingthings that rightfully belong to you, including your family members, the people that you loved? How longwould you let that go on? Probably not very long, and here arethese people in the House of the Lord? Has He been forgetful? Does he not care?Why are they not all dead already, it's because he's very, very patient,because he's calling them to repentance and the Lord is doing the same for useven to night. This judgment that came would wouldthat is pictured here and would come upon God's people in Israel, like itcame upon the world in the days of Noah, like I came upon the people in Sodomand Gamora. These things are just for tastes, they're, like little models of thegreat judgment that will come upon all the earth. Finally and forever. WhenJesus returns, it's a warning. It's meant to wake us up. It's man to makeus see that we cannot just go on in our sin, but it's also meant to make us seehow patient God is. So let us not presume on his kindness and hisporpentine AD. Let us turn to him in repentance. It also teaches us that God is just. Hedoes not eve. The guilty unpunished he's not like a king who refuses toprotect his people, he's not like a king who refuses to uphold righteouslaw.

He is not like a king who fails toprotect those who are depending upon him. The most God is not like that when God goes to avenge his people whotrust him when God goes to uphold his law, when God re, when God protects hispeople, God is being good. It's called a holy war for a reason, it's God going forth as that greatnight. That is so often pictured in our stories and myths. You know the greathero going and vanquishing all forces of evil to protect those whom he loves. That is something we cheer on. We havehundreds- I guess now- of Superhero movies, about these things right, butthis is the true super power, the one true living God, that's what he's doing and that should both bring fear to allof his enemies and great hope and safety to all who are protected underhim. It also reminds us beloved that, as theScriptures say, vengeance belongs to the Lord. Sometimes we get a little anxious aboutthings not happening. Why is so and so not being justlyprosecuted? Why are these things are so unfair and nothing's being done? I'mgoing to get in there and take care of these things and the Lord says: SlowDown. Don't worry I'll, take care of business. He knows how to take care of things,and he will do it in his proper time and his proper way. We don't need to take all of God's workinto our hands. We need to trust God that he will do what is right and hewill do it in his right time. Our job right now is to turn in repentance to turn away from our idols and turn tothe Lord, a turn away from the idols and turn to the Lord and tell everybodyin the world about Jesus that there is time and a savior to come,that the God who is going to rain justice and fire on the whole world hasalready come into the world and died on a cross to forgive us of our idolitor,forgive us of our grossest, adulteries and abominations, to mark us with the blood of the lambwho comes into the world to save us from our sins. There is a little bit of light in thispassage, and it's in that writing tablet of this.This priest, this one clothed in linen as he goes through the city, and helooks for the people that are mourning their lostness mourning their sins.

He marks them and they will be saved. I zeke will not be alone. He will notbe the last one saved. Indeed, God promises to save a multitude of peoplenot only from Israel but from all the world tongues and and tribes from allthe families of mankind and those things seem very dark in thisparticular moment in history and though they are very dark at this moment, Godwill not UN fail to fulfil his promises to Abraham and Isaac and Shacob. Hewill not fail to fulfil his promise to David to establish one to reign on thethrone of God for ever when Jesus comes into the world to beto tabernacle with us to be the God man to dwell with us now and forever. God fulfils those promises. He takes upon himself our sins, so that we would not have to face hisjudgment but would be called justified throughChrist. This vision is given to us now so thatwe might repent now so that we might stop saying the Lorddoes not see and come to realize how much he seesand how much he loves. The end has not come, but the end will come and no one of usknows how much time we have left so beloved. Let our hearts be brokenand let us turn to the Lord with gratitude and thankfulness andrepentance: Let's also go to our neighbors, those who are lost, those who areenslaved to their idols and speak to them. The good news of thegrace of God as well of the raft to come. Let's pray.

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