Bible Reference: Ezekiel 11:18–21
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Bible Text: 18 ….. I want you to clear the land of all disgusting idols. 19 Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me 20 and all my laws and teachings. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 21 But those who worship idols will be punished and get what they deserve. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
OBSERVATION: Our Youth & Families Pastor recently challenged 28 youth to leave their devices at home so that they might truly seek God’s face in very primitive living conditions at a camp, while they worked hard to help the poor in that community. Do you suppose that this gave our youth some uninterrupted time with God? You may quickly respond that you don’t have that problem. May I suggest that you sign up for the next trip with our Pastor? I wonder if this would help us on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and evenings? Read on as we meditate on this Scripture!
APPLICATION: I have a relative who surrendered his heart to the Lord, and immediately went home and broke up his music records and tapes, and burnt up all of his cigarettes that he had on hand. He felt like these were ‘idols’ that would tempt him back into sin. In our scripture today, there are many Israelites that were scattered away from their home country and God told Ezekiel that He would bless them when they returned, provided that they first clear the land of the idols. This made me think about the idols that may be interfering with our blessing today. I know, we don’t have the huge idols that some people go up to and worship, as if they have power to help them overcome some issue they might be going through. But friends, these chosen verses today really spell out what types of idols may be applicable to us today, for God actually explains to Ezekiel what He will do to actually bring the people more in line with himself. Here are some of the things, with a few ideas from me:
—-Take away stubbornness – Isn’t this brought on by us wanting our own way? Wanting our own will, instead of totally surrendering to the will of a righteous and holy God?
—-Eager to be completely faithful to God – I wonder what all God would need to de-clutter from our lives so that we might be completely faithful to Him? How about things like: televisions; phones; tablets; cars; boats; finances; shopping; etc? Friends, when you stop and think real good about it, God (and the things that tend to draw us closer to God) often takes second place to many other things in our lives, some of which I just gave you as an example.
Isn’t it unfortunate that God really only moves into first place on our priority list, when a need arises that we can’t solve via Google, or that our TV shows really haven’t addressed yet? I realize that all of this probably don’t apply to all of my precious readers, but may I ask you anyway to consider the following: First thing each morning, do you reach for your Bible, or some idol (device)? After getting your cup of coffee or tea, do you stop and get energized for the day mentally through the Word of God, or do you depend on what you are fed from your idol (TV; Mobile Device; Newspaper; etc)? In spite of God’s Word declaring that we should assemble ourselves together for worship and fellowship on our Sabbath, which of your idols tend to interfere with that? God said that He would really bless when we get rid of our ‘idols’. May I encourage you to take a missions trip to a third world country where many of these idols are not readily available and see how this might feel? It’s amazing how we easily find uninterrupted quiet time with the Lord! It can be done friends! Are you ready for your blessing?
PRAYER: Father, You have blessed us beyond measure and I thank You. It is so unfortunate that we are now idolizing the very things that You have blessed us with, and often to the extent that we are excluding You, or at least distracted from all that You have to share with us. Please open our eyes to all that we have allowed ourselves to become, and please help us to become more in love with the One who sacrificed His very own Son so that we might have a way into heaven. Lord, be glorified in us today. Help us to place aside our ‘idols’ for very specialized and personalized time with You. I ask this humbly in the Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, AMEN!