Friday, August 28, 2009

Hiding from God

Ezekiel 8:10-12
(10) So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel.
(11) And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up.
(12) Then he said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.'"

This is part of a vision that Ezekiel had. I don't think he was necessarily seeing actual events real-time, nor do I think that matters. The point is that there were elders of the house of Israel committing idolatry in secret. This was considered to be a grave abomination, as we would expect.

There are so many things that come to my mind as I read this, but I'll limit myself to two. First, I am reminded of how I lived when I was enslaved to sexual sin. I was capable of reading the Bible, closing it, and then surfing porn. That's how bad it became for me. That's how far I had taken my idolatry. Of course it was impossible to do it if I had any sense at all of the presence of God. Who would surf porn with Jesus in the room?

How did I manage this then? I pretended that God wasn't watching. I was always painfully aware of His presence afterward, but while I was feeding my lust I would just ignore Him. I was like the hideous bugblatter beast of Traal in the Hitchiker's Guide series. This beast was so stupid that it figured that if you couldn't see it, then it couldn't see you. That's how I treated God. I treated Him like he was that beast and that if I ignored Him I could do what I wanted. Of course, this is patently ridiculous but you need to do those kinds of mental gymnastics if you are going to consistently feed your flesh.

The other thing I think of is how rampant idolatry is within the church today. We may not worship images of animals, but I there are plenty of other idols for us to worship. Gluttony is an easy one to point out. The love of self and fame are pretty easy to spot as well. There are more subtle ones like the love of money. Family can be an idol as well. How about comfort? How about sports teams?

Idolatry is everywhere and certainly not limited to the church and its leaders. However, the leaders should know better. As someone training to be a leader of some sort, what am I doing to ferret out the idols in my heart? I know that there are still plenty in there.

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