Thursday, October 3, 2013

In the Presence of Idols

“ ‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. They will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted to the Lord will belong to them. The best of all the firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household. (Ezekiel 44:28-30 NIV)

Israel’s best belonged to the priests. The Lord was their only possession and attached to Him came all of Israel’s best; the best of all the first fruits and of all their special gifts.  The priests were very well taken care of but still there were always stories of those that wanted more. Eli’s sons and others did detestable things as they served in the temple and took what was not theirs. They were given so much, the best of what was in Israel but they were not thankful; instead they were sinful and greedy, never satisfied.

It reminds me of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  They had perfection; everything was beautiful and taken care of for them.  The climate was perfect, the food was ripe and plentiful, and the best part was they got to walk daily, side by side with the Lord.  Although they had the absolute best God had to offer it still wasn’t enough. Though the priests were given the best of everything in Israel they still wandered from The Lord and after their idols.

“ ‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 44:10-12 NIV)

The priests served Israel in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin.  They served in the presence of their idols, not in the presence of God, even in the temple of God. They were to represent God to the people but they instead represented their idols; greed, lust, selfishness, gluttony, and whatever else. This was the peoples representation of God and “ made the people of Israel fall into sin.”

I am in no Garden of Eden or temple of God where the best of Israel is brought to The Lord and belongs to me. But God still has provided His best. He has been just, merciful, and full of love, all at the same time. He provided His son, Jesus Christ, as the sacrifice for my sins so I could be in relationship with Him, so I could spend eternity with Him in His absolute best. Although He has given me His best my heart still wanders after idols. Idols that demand from me, lie to me, make me into something less, leave me unsatisfied and always wanting..idols I often don’t even realize exists.  Then as a representative of the Most High God I serve my kids, my husband, other family, my friends, and my church family all in the presence of those idols instead of God. The pain that must fill God when He has given me so much, His best, and I in return have a wandering heart that serves others in the presence of idols causing them to sin right along with me.

An idol free heart, that NEVER wanders from The Lord and always, always serves in the presence of The Lord, this is the desire of my heart. I never want to lead my little ones or anyone else into sin.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Matthew 18:6, 7 NIV)

This topic of idols has been very much on my heart for quite some time. God is stirring and shaking things up in my heart or maybe it’s better to say shaking things loose.  It is good. It really is. If this speaks to your heart as well look for future blogs titled, In the Presence of Idols.  I believe there will be more to share of my own journey as God shakes things loose. Also, I highly recommend a great book God has used to speak to my heart, Equipped to Love: Building Idolatry Free Relationships by Norm Wakefield.

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