God confronted Israel about the idols of their heart
1 Then certain 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 heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak to them, and say to them, The Lord God says this; Every man of the house of Israel that sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that comes according to the multitude of his idols; 5 That I may capture the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6 Therefore say to the house of Israel, The Lord God says this; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
- Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the foreigner that stays in Israel, who separates himself from me, and sets up his idols in his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him myself: 8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and you will know that I am the LORD.
- The people secretly believed in false gods.
- We do the same today.
- Anything we trust above God is our idol—money, people, beauty, fame, anything that is not God our maker.
- Our biggest idols is self.
- God is against this because He made us.
- He is life and the Source of our life.
9 And if the prophet is deceived when he has spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand on him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they will bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet will be the same as the punishment of him that seeks him; 11 that the house of Israel may no longer go astray from me or be polluted anymore with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, says the Lord GOD.
- God tests prophets and people to see if they are listening only to Him (illustrated in 1 Kings 13).
- God is always just and right in what He does.
- He tells why He does what He does—that they no longer stray from Him.
- Psalm 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.
God tells us the reason for hunger and famine here
12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 13 Son of man, when the land sins against me by trespassing grievously, then I will stretch out my hand on it, and will break the staff of its bread, and will send famine on it, and will cut off man and beast from it. 14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only their own souls by their righteousness, says the Lord GOD. 15 If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they plunder it, so that it is desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts: 16 though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they will deliver neither sons or daughters; they alone will be delivered, but the land will be desolate. 17 Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, Sword, go through the land so that I cut off man and beast from it: 18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they will deliver neither sons or daughters, but they alone will be delivered.
- Notice that the Lord God sends the disasters on earth to bring man back to Himself so that they can live and not die. Evil leads to death.
19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury on it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: 20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they will deliver neither son nor daughter; they will only deliver their own souls by their righteousness. 21 For the Lord GOD says; How much more when I send my four evil judgments on Jerusalem, the sword, the famine, the wild animal, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? 22 Yet, behold, in it a remnant will be left that will be brought out, both sons and daughters: behold, they will come out to you, and you will see their way and their doings: and you will be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought on Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. 23 And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings: and you will know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, says the Lord GOD.
- The atrocities of idolatry and cult worship have brought much suffering to this life.
- God’s judgments are merciful because they lead man back onto the path of life.
- Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in mercy and truth.
1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Can wood be taken from it to do work? Will men make a peg from it to hang any jar on? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burned. Is it fit for any work? 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was not fit work: how much less will it be useful for any work, when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned? 6 Therefore the Lord God says this; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, that I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
God set His face against His people because they trespassed against Him
7 And I will set my face against them; they will go out from one fire, and another fire will devour them; and you will know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. 8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord GOD.
- He did it so they would know that He is the Lord and not the idols that they worship.
- God is the Maker and ruler over all, not the worthless statues that the people were bowing down and praying to.
- None of the gods worshipped by other religions are the Maker of all things or the controller of the universe.
- God has shown who He is by the things that He did.
- Remember the miracles of Jesus showed sovereign control over all forces in life.
- He cast out demons, controlled the weather, healed all kinds of diseases and deformities, raised the dead, and came back from death.
- The written accounts about Jesus were never challenged by the people of his day because they had been eyewitnesses to it all.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
- Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide his indignation.
1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 And say, The Lord God says this to Jerusalem; Your birth and your nativity is of the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite. 4 And as for your circumstance, in the day you were born you navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloth. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these to you, to have compassion on you; but you were cast out in the open field, to the loathing of your person, in the day that you were born.
- God compared Israel, and by analogy, us, to a hated, uncleansed, and discarded newborn.
God says to us, live
6 And when I passed by you, and saw you trampled under foot in your own blood, I said to you when you were in your blood, Live; yes, I said to you when you were in you blood, Live. 7 I have made you multiply as the bud of the field, and you have increased and grown great, and you have become a beautiful jewel: your breasts are fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas you were naked and bare. 8 Now when I passed by you, and looked on you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became mine.
- Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth he will be called.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him not perish, but have everlasting life.
He saves us, washes us, anoints us, clothes us, adorns us, and perfects us through His splendor
9 Then I washed I you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered work, and shod you with sandals of porpoise skin, and I wrapped you with fine linen, and I covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, and I put bracelets on your hands, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 You were adorned with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered work; you ate fine flour, honey, and oil: and you were exceedingly beautiful, and you prospered into a kingdom. 14 And your fame went out among the nations for your beauty: for it was perfect through my splendor that I put on you, says the Lord GOD.
- Psalm 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, the work of our hands, you establish it.
15 But you trusted in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of our fame, and poured out your fornications on every one that passed by; it was his. 16 And you took your clothing and adorned your high places with various colors, and whored like has never been or will ever be. 17 You also have taken your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver that I had given you and made yourself male images, and whored with them, 18 And took your embroidered garments, and covered them: and you have set my oil and my incense before them. 19 My food that I gave you, fine flour, and oil, and honey with which I fed you, you have set it before them as sweet incense: and that’s how it was, says the Lord GOD. 20 Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to me, and these you have sacrificed to them to be devoured. Is this, your whoring, a small matter, 21 That you have killed my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? 22 And in all your abominations and your whoring you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, and were polluted in your blood. 23 And it happened after all your wickedness, (woe, woe to you! says the Lord GOD;)
- ‘Woe’ means cries of grief. Human child sacrifice is part of high cult worship in the world today, even in the USA.
24 That you have also built to yourself a brothel house, and have made for yourself a high place in every street. 25 You have built your high place at every head of the way, and have made your beauty to be abhorred, and have opened your feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied your whoring. 26 You have also committed fornication with the Egyptians your neighbors, great of flesh; and have increased your whoring to provoke me to anger. 27 Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over you, and have diminished your ordinary food, and delivered you to the will of those that hate you, the daughters/cities of the Philistines, which are ashamed of your lewd way. 28 You have played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; yes, you have played the harlot with them, and yet could not be satisfied.
- Wrong things do not satisfy.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; he that believes on me will never thirst.
29 Moreover you have multiplied your fornication in the land of Canaan to the Chaldeans; yet you were not satisfied. 30 How weak is your heart, says the Lord GOD because you do all these things, the actions of a overbearing harlot; 31 In that you build your shrine in the head of every way, and make your brothel in every street; and have not been like a harlot, because you scorned money; 32 But as a wife that commits adultery, which takes strangers instead of her husband! 33 They give gifts to all whores: but you give your gifts to all your lovers, and bribe them to come to you on every side for your whoring. 34 And you are opposite from other women in your whoring, none follow you to commit whoredom: but you give a reward, and no reward is given to you, therefore you are different.
- God’s people were trusting many other nations rather than God Almighty.
- They bought security by bribing other nations with the riches from God’s temple.
- It is the same thing when we trust money or people or things rather than God.
- Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
35 Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD: 36 The Lord God says this; Because your filthiness was poured out, and your nakedness uncovered through your whoring with your lovers, and with all the idols of your abominations, and by the blood of your children that you gave to them; 37 Behold, therefore I will gather all your lovers, with whom you have taken pleasure, and all those that you have loved, with all those that you have hated; I will gather them against you, and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38 And I will judge you as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give you blood in fury and jealousy. 39 And I will also give you into their hand, and they will throw down your shrines and break down your high places: they will strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewels, and leave you naked and bare.
- God’s warnings are terrifying so that His people will return to Him and spare themselves judgment.
- Idolatry leads to eternal death.
- It is a matter of eternal life and death that these people stop this whoring with other gods and return to the only true God.
40 They will also bring up a company against you and they will stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords. 41 And they will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women: and I will cause you to stop whoring and you will no longer pay your lovers. 42 So I will make my fury toward you to rest, and my jealousy will depart from you, and I will be quiet, and will no longer be angry. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have troubled me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will repay your way on your head, says the Lord GOD: and you will not commit this lewdness above all your abominations.
- Jeremiah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and that my fear is not in you, says the Lord GOD of hosts.
44 Behold, every one that uses proverbs will use this proverb against you, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45 You are your mother’s daughter, that loathes her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, that loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46 And your older sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at your left hand: and your younger sister that dwells at your right hand is Sodom and her daughters. 47 Yet you have not walked after their ways or done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, you were corrupted more than them in all your ways. 48 As I live, says the Lord GOD, Sodom your sister has not done, she or her daughters, as you have done, you and your daughters. 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw fit. 51 Neither has Samaria committed half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters in all your abominations that you have done. 52 You also, which have judged your sisters, bear your own shame for your sins that you have committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than you: yes, you be confounded, and bear your shame, in that you have justified your sisters.
- Giving handouts enables the idleness; that was sin to Sodom.
- God gave man work to humble man’s heart.
- Psalm 107:11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the most High: 12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. 13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
He mercifully remembers and establishes His covenant
53 Yet I will return their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then I will turn the captivity of your captives in the midst of them: 54 That you may bear your own shame, and be ashamed in all that you have done, in that you are a comfort to them. 55 When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, will return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters will return to their former estate, then you and your daughters will return to your former state. 56 For your sister Sodom was not mentioned by your mouth in the day of your pride, 57 Before your wickedness was uncovered, as at the time of your reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are around her, the daughters of the Philistines, who hated you, round about. 58 You are bearing your wickedness and your abominations, says the LORD. 59 For the Lord God says this; I will deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant. 60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you will receive your sisters, your older and your younger: and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your covenant. 62 And I will establish my covenant with you; and you will know that I am the LORD: 63 That you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame, when I am pacified toward you for all that you have done, says the Lord GOD.
SUMMARY: Ezekiel 14-16
- God confronted Israel about the idols of their heart
- God tells us the reason for hunger and famine here
- God set His face against His people because they trespassed against Him
- God says to us, Live
- He saves us, washes us, anoints us, clothes us, adorns us, and perfects us through His splendor
- He mercifully remembers and establishes His covenant