Highlights In Today's Reading:
Ezekiel is led to dramatically illustrate his visions that we may better understand. He demonstrates the coming judgment and the eventual end in Chapters 5,6,7. He tells of the people's great sin in Chapter 8. We need to know what it is. Then in Chapter 9 God slaughters the idolators!
Ezekiel was led, in a vision, into the Temple where he beheld various kinds of image worship which were abominations (8:9) condoned or practiced by the seventy men of the ancients (Jewish elders) of the House of Israel (8:11).
The image of jealousy, which provoketh (the Lord) to jealousy, (8:3) was an idol set in the inner court near the north gate. Immediately after seeing the image, Ezekiel says: Behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there (8:4).
Following this, Ezekiel is shown twenty-five men standing at the altar of sacrifice in the Holy Place, but instead of worshiping toward the Holy Place of Jehovah, they were turning their backs toward the Temple of the Lord . . . and they worshipped the sun toward the east (8:16).
Failure to honor God and His Word always opens the way for idolatry instead of worship of the One True God. So, we are not surprised when we read: The glory of the God of Israel was gone (9:3). To magnify God's Word and have His presence is our highest privilege. But to have Him withdraw His holy presence is a fearful thing.
Is our worship of the Lord such that we can feel His presence? Or do we just take Him for granted?
God's love and longsuffering are such that He reluctantly withdraws His presence only when there is persistent, willful rejection of His Word. Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:20; also Jeremiah 7:16).
The Israelites did not cease to "acknowledge" the Lord as their God above all gods; but they added the worship of various abominable idols and, thereby, profaned the Temple. Similarily, many today acknowledge God as sovereign only on Sunday.
The fearful thing is that it is possible to call ourselves Christians, believe all the fundamental doctrines of the faith, attend religious services regularly, and go through the motions of worship because we feel it is our religious duty and, yet, never truly worship only Him. Our hearts and thoughts can be elsewhere, even during the worship service. How can we realize His presence if we refuse to read the Word of God to learn why He created us, how He expects us to live, and what He expects us to do?
Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).
Thought for Today:
There are many that perform the rituals of institutionalized "worship" and don't realize that the Glory of God left long ago.
By the man clothed in linen (Ezekiel 9:2-11) who represents Christ as High Priest, marking His people to be spared from the flaming sword of vengeance. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast (firmly) our profession (confession) (Hebrews 4:14; also Revelation 7:2-3).
5:16 staff =b> supply; 6:4 images =b> idols; 7:26 counsel from the ancients =b> counsel from the aged; 8:12 chambers of his imagery =b> shrine of his own carved idol.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Miss Helayne Abrams • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts to Pakistan sponsored by Ray & Gail Berlin • Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND) • Country: Cyprus (754,000) in the Middle East • Major languages: Greek and Turkish • No open evangelism or conversions to Christ • 75% Greek Orthodox; 19% Muslim; 1% Protestant; 1% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: The Word of God, confession, and prayer bring the believer into close communion with God (Neh. 9:2-5).
Optional Reading: Revelation 7
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 1:29