He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. Ezekiel 8:3
“Don’t poke the bear” a common saying used to warn those being careless, fearless, ignorant or foolish,about the dangers of making a bear angry. While the bear slumbers or is in hibernation, a state of peace and happiness, can be projected an image that mask a harsh reality. Though they might be cute, and seem harmless, even the youngest bear has enough powers to alter ones course of existence.
Time and time again, people took for granted the bears power, even thinking that it could beaten by those of us who were strong or either studied and knowledgable about his habits and behavior that they overlooked two important factors:
- 1. Not knowing his mind
- 2. Not understanding the his complete nature.
In this passage we encounter Gods’ prophet hosting the elders in His home. Without a word, God shows Ezekiel the conditions of those in his midst without a confession. He allows Ezekiel in these visions to see through His eyes. He peers down and immediately encounters an idol.
Fake Gods where in the house of God!!!
The idol was in the inner court, where the priest were to reside and offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. They had taken some of the gods from other cultures, and had included them in worship along with the true and living God.
God had a roommate!!!!
After all God had done for Israel and Judah, He was given a roommate, and forced to share a space with one who hadn’t any power, or the capability to love, protect and provide. They worshiped and attributed to these idols things that were given by Him. They sought them for life, protection and provision and in doing so, they provoked the bear!
I wondered to myself, “
How many temples, homes and hearts are God forced to be a roommate in?”
How often do we move God into a living condition, where he is treated like a renter, and given a lease on that which He owns? How often is God asked to entertain new tenants, leasing out space to those who don’t belong?
He shares His temple with paintings and statues, when His temple was designed to paint His image upon the people and to teach them his statutes. Sadly, I believe He sees more of the same today. While our God has upheld His covenant and remained consistent, our behavior all along has caused us to experience earthly judgement and or punishment, which to many was unbearable. Sadly, this did not lead to a correction of their actions and has not lead to the correction of ours either.
They continued down the path, in some cases unaware that the bear had been provoked. They continued in the error of their ways, and the prophets, priest and elders had not corrected it, partly because they were living in error too.
We find out via the visions of God, that the elders who sat in Ezekiel’s home has lives they lived in the dark. They committed atrocities against God in the dark in hopelessness, not believing that correcting the error of their ways would lead to God changing their circumstances.
Each Elder, God revealed to Ezekiel, had their own personal shrine in their room (Yes, the room that God provided.). After service, they went to their rooms and worshipped a god that didn’t provide. Sadly, we do the same. They served in the temple, advised the people and then gave their most intimate self to inanimate object.
Much like then, God watched the sin through eyes of love through shades of jealousy. Though He loved His people, He was and is still jealous of where we place our love and adoration.
So what is your practice?
I imagine that God knows the difficulty many of us face watching second to second updates of those He loved and lost and is envious of us living out life with an insufficient replacement. How sad it must be for Him to see us chasing temporary fulfillment, while complete provision is just a prayer away.
What’s in your gateway?
Is there something preventing God from seeing and receiving your sacrifice?
What in your life is provoking Gods wrath?