Year 3 Day 85
Read - Ezekiel 8:5-17
Message - Alan Burke
There is a native American proverb that one of my lecturers in Magee was very partial too. Actually it is not a Native American proverb at all but based on a poem by Mary T. Lathrap from 1895. My lecturers version was ‘don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins’. It is easy to understand the meaning behind it, ‘place yourself in their shoes’ is another way of saying it. The meaning of course is imagine yourself in their position before you come to a conclusion so that you can understand or empathise with their perspective.
Figuratively here the Lord was helping His prophet Ezekiel to begin at least in a small way to see and to understand from His point of view, showing him just what the issue with this rebellious people were. Firstly he had taken him to look upon the entrance of the north gate (v3) where the idol that provoke to jealously of God stood, now He takes Ezekiel on a whirlwind tour. In v6 depending on the translation you have before you you will read either the the ‘utterly detestable things’ or ‘the great abominations’. Either way, it is clear the Lord is not happy with their idolatry and through it they would drive the Lord far from His sanctuary. If things looked bad from the outside as you approached the temple at the image of Jealousy at the North Gate, in reality things were much worse.
Look down to verse 10-11 after Ezekiel made the hole in the wall and went though the doorway; ”…portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel.”. Instead of the people worshiping the creator Himself they were worshiping the created.
And there was more for Ezekiel to see, V14 women, plural, there are many weeping for Tammuz, again it's unlikely we know who Tammuz is, I didn't know but it is the Babylonian god of plant life, another false god being worshiped. Ezekiel would have seen it first hand in this vision, but there is more, there is more idolatry, more paganism, more abominations than that he had seen.
The next place we are taken to is specifically the court of the house of the Lord v16, and what we have here in a place were only the priests could enter, were not told specifically that that is who they are but its likely. These were those who were supposed to be going about their duties as priests in the worship of the living God, but the were there with their backs to the Lord, they were not worship Him they were there worshiping Tammuz. They are bowing the east, towards the rising sun in the worship of this false God in the house of God.
It wasn’t that just the people had strayed a wee bit, that they had got it wrong but their hearts and motives were in the right place. No this is full on degeneration into idolatry, paganism, they have rejected the Lord at ever pillar and post, they were a rebellious people! In the midst of this they were provoking the Lord to anger!
The Lord God had shown Ezekiel some of that which was hidden to him, God enabled His prophet to see it, but God sees and knows all things. He is Omnipresent, He is present everywhere and He is Omniscience meaning He is all knowing. The people of God that rebellious people thought they could live as they wanted without God seeing and caring, they believed He didn’t see or care (v12) but He does. He sees and knows all things, that which is clear for all to see and that which is hidden. There is nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known in the future (Lk 12:2).
Q81 What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, (1 Kings 21:4, Esther 5:13, 1 Cor. 10:10) envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, (Gal. 5:26, James 3:14,16) and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his. (Rom. 7:7–8, Rom. 13:9, Deut. 5:21)