January 8, 2018
READ: Ezekiel 16:1-34
You were adorned with gold and silver. Your clothes were made of fine linen . . . and were beautifully embroidered. You ate the finest foods . . . and became more beautiful than ever. You looked like a queen, and so you were! (v.13).
Tim Keller aptly expressed the spiritual state of humanity when he wrote, “Everything that troubles [us] is a result of idolatry. And what is idolatry? It’s taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing.” View nearly any form of visual media today and you’ll see that we’ve exchanged our worship of the Creator for the created. We were designed by God to respond to beauty—His beauty. But the promise of perfection and the temptation of power draw us to lesser gods. Food, sex, fashion, you name it. Our bodies have become our idols.
A picture of God’s adoption of Israel and their rejection of Him, Ezekiel 16 expresses the idolatry of a nation in language of intimacy and betrayal. While it might be easy to distance ourselves historically from the imagery of this passage, its truth applies to us today. We “came naked from [our] mother’s womb” (Job 1:21) with nothing to offer but our broken, marred humanity covered in the blood of our sin (Ezekiel 16:4-6; Romans 3:10). A protective and covenantkeeping God rescued us (Ezekiel 16:7-8), and we’ve been transformed by His love (vv.9-13).
But we’re tempted to forget (v.15). Enticed by the world and all it offers, we turn our affection towards the voices of people and seek their affirmation. Like the Israelites, our strength, our beauty, our very talents, can become the lure drawing us into idolatrous relationship to our culture (vv.16-19,33-34). Sadder still, we may pass on our idolatrous tendencies to the next generation by teaching them to fit in rather than stand out (vv.20-21).
True hope doesn’t forget the One who rescued us. May we remember that God’s forgiveness restores what was lost, and our worship of Him reclaims our inheritance.
365-day plan: Genesis 11:1-9
Read Numbers 21:8-9 and 2 Kings 18:1-5 and consider how the bronze serpent became an object of worship rather than a testimony of God’s goodness.
When have you been tempted to make a gift from God the ‘ultimate thing’ in your life? When the Holy Spirit reveals your idolatry, how do you turn from it and return to worshipping God alone?