A Lament Over the Fall of Jerusalem

Open Your Bible

Ezekiel 6:1-14, Ezekiel 7:1-27, Galatians 6:7-9, James 4:1-6

Sometimes words are so grim we find ourselves putting up a protective shield against them. How can we lessen the impact of “detestable practices”? Or “idolatry”? Or “judgment”? “Detestable practices,” or “abomination,” is the Lord’s indelicate word for evil words and actions, and He does not hesitate to use it  to label lying and idolatry (Ezekiel 6:9,7:3,4,8,9,20). Our response to this barrage is often to allow our senses to be dangerously dulled, dismissing the warnings as quaintly antiquated. Nevertheless, as we read Ezekiel 6 and 7, the determinative question is this: How will God’s word break through hardened religious hearts?

The curtain had rung down (temporarily) on Ezekiel’s street theater (Ezekiel 4–5). His audience may have noticed his actions, but they had a short attention span. Thus, Ezekiel next climbed to the bench to pronounce severe judgment; perhaps that would register more. 

For the record, Ezekiel’s audience presumed themselves spiritually attuned. They engaged with altars, incense offerings, and all the trappings of a religious culture. To be sure, Israelites were commanded to guard against idolatry. It was a tough requirement, because in that context, it was unthinkable not to have idols. Idolatry was central to a world view that was based on utter selfishness, manipulating the gods to gain favorable treatment. And it got worse. Their leadership was bankrupt, they terrorized innocent people, and arrogant violence was in the daily news. 

The processes of making and setting up idols have changed; the expectations have not. Self-advancement and entitlement to self-satisfaction are idols of choice. The apostle Paul declared that greed is idolatry (Colossians 3:5, James 4:1–6). Too often we sacrifice virtue for economic security, exchange the truths of God for lies, and call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). Until we in the Church come to grips with the reality of our own twenty-first century idolatries, Ezekiel will remain in the prophetic dustbin.

Like Ezekiel’s audience, we are commanded to be counter-cultural, getting rid of everything that traps us and takes the place of the Lord God of the universe. We are admonished to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2Corinthians 10:5). 

Amidst the harsh words, however, there is a powerful declaration.  “Then your survivors will remember me…how I was crushed by their promiscuous hearts that turned away from me…” (Ezekiel 6:9). Yes, there is deserved judgment forthcoming; yes, idolatries are built into the fabric of everyday existence and are abominations to the Lord. But thanks be to God, the end of our own dreadful trajectory into the ravages of sin is at the cross. 

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108 thoughts on "A Lament Over the Fall of Jerusalem"

  1. Susan Clifton says:


  2. Sarah Morrison says:

    You are what you give your mind to- mark comer – live no lies!

  3. Latrice Zebouchi says:

    It is tough reading through this. I’m sure all of us was like “ouch”!!! The word of God is living, it’s as much true today as it was all those years ago.

  4. Rachel Tippett says:

    I’ve heard a good question to prompt reflection on where idols may be is “where am I spending my time, talents, and treasures?” Looking at your habits (good or bad) may prompt some thinking too!

  5. Rachel Tippett says:

    I’ve heard a good question to prompt reflection on where idols may be is “where am I spending my time, talents, and treasures.l

  6. Marissa Wright says:

    Idolatry has so so many different faces. I pray I can truly analyze the things I really devote my heart and time to. I pray I can make that Jesus more often than not.

  7. Heather Jones says:

    Thank you for this!!!

  8. Tiffany Farrar says:

    In what ways am I living like I’ve forgotten who He is, and what He has done for me? Do I see my sin as God sees it? Am I grieved that I grieve Him? Are there any high places in my life? Are my eyes and heart being drawn toward God or away from God by what I allow into my life? The world, the flesh, and the devil never have my best interests in mind but only want to shred my heart to pieces. Like Ezekiel’s peers, we foolishly turn from God who loved us at our worst state (Ephesians 2:1-4) to gods who are incapable of loving us at all.