Chapter twenty is yet another re-telling of Israel’s identity story, punctuated with many assertions that their tendency toward idolatry is preposterous.
It’s frustrating how this chapter starts with Israel’s elders coming to Ezekiel for the Word from the LORD (20:1), and when He clearly spells it out they say, “Oh, he’s just speaking parables.” (20:49) NO! Not parables, ya ding dongs!
Does this make it funny, then, that Jesus shows up like, “You want parables? I’ll give you parables.” Maybe that’s not the connection I should be making.
More often, I see the people of God side-eyeing the Old Testament like an outdated, irrelevant story, full of parables and cautionary tales for another audience. But as Carly pointed out last time, their literally obedience would have meant life. Our obedience now still brings life.
We have to take any and all idolatry seriously.
“When you offer your gifts, when you cause you sons to pass through the fire, you are defiling yourselves with all you idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of be you, O house of Israel? As I live,” declares the LORD God, “I will not be inquired of by you. What comes to your mind will not come about, when you say: ‘We will be like the nations like the tribes of the land, serving wood and stone.'” (20:31-32)
When it seems fine to idolize things/people like your neighbors do, just keep in mind that it will massively hinder your prayer life. We cannot combine or replace Him with anything or anyone. He doesn’t share His glory, He doesn’t neatly fit our molds. He is the LORD God and there is no other.
We can’t keep schluffing off His word like it’s an Aesop Fable. What’s something you tend to minimize about the LORD in order to justify disobedience? Yikes. This is a big question we all need to get real about from time to time. He is, of course, merciful, forgiving and restoring–so it’s not the end of the world (yet)–but why hinder our prayer lives and relationship with Him? Ask Him about this today.