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Thursday, July 3, 2014

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It’s easy, especially for westerners, to disconnect themselves from Biblical passages that talk about idolatry.  It’s difficult for us who live in places where idols of gold, stone, and wood are not common place to relate to Israel’s idolatry. But, regardless of our culture, we are all familiar with idolatry of one sort or another.  Our idols are not found around idol Asherah poles and in high places. Our idols revolve around money, relationships, entertainment, or our own personal comfort.  We may value more what people think of us than what God thinks of us. Our personal value may come from our successes in the workplace or the performance of our children instead of the ransom paid for us by Christ.  We may seek comfort through food, drugs, television screens, or in a hand-held communication device rather than at the foot of the cross.  As long as our lives hum along like a fine tuned engine we are content, but when things begin to function like a bad engine, we turn back to our idols to make us feel better.  If we are really honest with ourselves, things are not much different between Israel then and us today.

So, when we read of God’s judgment against Israel for a similar sin that we often commit, we can easily become discouraged or even afraid.  God is faithful to His promise of bringing discipline and judgment against those who turn away from Him and worship idols.  God does not want to lose us.  This reminder we have in Ezekiel can fill us with guilt and shame, but the important question is: What are we, you and I, going to do with our guilt and shame?  You can be hardened toward God and continue in your sin, or you can become heart-broken over your sin and be propelled by His Holy Spirit back to God and reconciliation.

God says to Israel, “Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries” (Ezekiel 6:8).

Just as God is faithful to bring discipline and judgment, He is faithful to establish a converted people, a restored remnant.  This remnant is made up of people who are aware of their sin, but instead of avoiding their guilt, instead of hiding from Him, or seeking peace through some other means, some empty well so to speak, they seek the Water of Life.  Will you seek Him today?

God is faithful.  Yes, He’s faithful to bring an end to all wickedness, and He’s faithful to bring real deliverance to His remnant.  That’s great news!  Amen.

Dr. Eric Bates, Pastor
Gulf States Conference