Ezekiel 13-15, Psalm 34
Pastor Lloyd quoted Howie Hendricks, the former founder and President of Dallas Theological Seminary as saying, "My parents taught us that everything in our home was either an idol or a tool." What we have and who we are will either be used for the glory of God or for our own sinful pursuits. Anything that comes before God in our lives is an idol-and God sees that (quote from Chuck Smith). These idols can be anything, even good things like our children, our families, our jobs, sports, etc.
We see a difficult problem in the land of Judah at this time. The people had erected idols in their hearts, ...."Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity,...that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols." (Eze. 14:4-5). Not only were their hearts fixed in idols but the false prophets simply told the people what they wanted to hear rather than warning and moving them to repent. In Ez 13:2-3, we read, "...say to those who prophesy out of their own heart...Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing."
Jesus knew that unless approached with a repentant heart His words would not be heeded. In Matthew 5:4, He says, "Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted." This is a mourning over our sins which is a prerequisite to repentance. It's why the current philosophy and religion now where everyone feels they are pretty good is so dangerous. This was the reason Jesus spoke in parables as we read in Matthew 13:13, "Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand." So blinding are these idols and earthly desires that we read in John 12:42-43, "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
What was true in the days of Ezekiel and in the days of Jesus are just as real now. People need to hear the Gospel message and realize that their "good works" will never be enough for salvation. What was needed then is just as true now, repentance must precede the realization that we all need a Savior and that we can not accomplish anything on our own. May we be vigilant in telling the world not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear, even if that makes us unpopular.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: