Day 5

A Lament Over the Fall of Jerusalem

from the Ezekiel: Come to Life (Lent 2022) reading plan

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

BY Elaine Phillips

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. 

Post Comments (108)

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

  1. Favour Nakyazze says:

    Same here. Like I need to reflect on some of the actions I allow the world to install in me

  2. Jessica Zantal says:

    This is a great point !

  3. Jessica Zantal says:

    This is definitely an ouch for me and very convicting. I can easily say that at times I can put things in front of God.
    This is just another reminder to put God first ❤️

  4. Jessica Zantal says:

    This is definitely an ouch for me and very convicting. I can easily say that at times I can put things in front of God.

  5. Erin H says:

    How do I give up my idol of control or self sufficiency???

  6. Bri Tieperman says:

    9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9❤️❤️❤️

  7. Ally Watkins says:

    Yes! Exactly

  8. LaShandra Fluno says:

    Cleaning up the cobwebs, the words Ezekiel wrote are powerful, and invoke a holy fear. I am thankful for this word and the self reflection it brings. Father forgive me for creating idols and not worshiping only you!

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