Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 19, 2017

“—for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—”

Today’s devotion comes from Ezekiel chapter 8.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“It came about in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell on me there.  Then I looked, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of a man;  from His loins and downward there was the appearance of fire, and from His loins and upward the appearance of brightness, like the appearance of glowing metal.  He stretched out the form of a hand and caught me by a lock of my head;  and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy, was located.  And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the appearance which I saw in the plain.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, raise your eyes now toward the north.”  So I raised my eyes toward the north, and behold, to the north of the altar gate was this idol of jealousy at the entrance.  And He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations which the house of Israel are committing here, so that I would be far from My sanctuary? But yet you will see still greater abominations.”

Then He brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall.  He said to me, “Son of man, now dig through the wall.”  So I dug through the wall, and behold, an entrance.  And He said to me, “Go in and see the wicked abominations that they are committing here.”  So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around.  Standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them, each man with his censer in his hand and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising.  Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images?  For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us;  the LORD has forsaken the land.’”  And He said to me, “Yet you will see still greater abominations which they are committing.”  Ezekiel 8:1-13.

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—for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—”  Exodus 34:14.

 

58 For they provoked Him with their high places
And aroused His jealousy with their graven images.

59 When God heard, He was filled with wrath
And greatly abhorred Israel;
60 So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
The tent which He had pitched among men,
61 And gave up His strength to captivity
And His glory into the hand of the adversary.
62 He also delivered His people to the sword,
And was filled with wrath at His inheritance.
63 Fire devoured His young men,
And His virgins had no wedding songs.
64 His priests fell by the sword,
And His widows could not weep.”  Psalm 78:58-64.

 

“O God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance;
They have defiled Your holy temple;
They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the dead bodies of Your servants for food to the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem;
And there was no one to bury them.
We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scoffing and derision to those around us.
How long, O LORD?  Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?”  Psalm 79:1-5.

 

“Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,
But who can stand before jealousy?”  Proverbs 27:4.

“…  Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.”  Song of Solomon 8:6.

 

We may think that we are safe, because we do not make any physical idols.  But, idols can also be made from our mental image of a god based on our desires rather than based on the one true God presented by Scripture.  And, idolatry can consist of placing trust in such a mental image of a god based on our desires or objects or creatures or persons or any other than the one true God presented by Scripture.

 

Consider what the following Heidelberg Catechism states about idolatry. 

“Q. 94.  What doth God enjoin in the first commandment?

A.  That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, invocation of saints, or any other creatures;  and learn rightly to know the only true God;  trust in Him alone, with humility and patience submit to Him;  expect all good things from Him only;  love, fear, and glorify Him with my whole heart;  so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to His will.

Q. 95.  What is idolatry?

A.  Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God who has manifested Himself in His Word, to contrive or have any other object in which men place their trust.”  Heidelberg Catechism.

 

Consider the following article by Augustus Toplady.  Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) was chiefly known as a writer of hymns including “Rock of Ages”. He ministered in London, England.  Although he was originally a follower of John Wesley, in 1758 he adopted strong Calvinist convictions.  Some comments by Wesley upon Toplady’s presentation of Calvinism led to a bitter controversy between them.  The following is an article by Augustus Toplady.

The ‘god’ of Arminianism by Augustus Toplady

“I dare say, that, in such an auditory as this, a number of Arminians are present.  I fear, that all our public assemblies have too many of them.  Perhaps, however, even these people, idolaters as they are, may be apt to blame, and, indeed, with justice, the absurdity of those who worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. But let me ask:  If it be so very absurd, to worship the work of other men’s hands what must it be, to worship the works of our own hands?  Perhaps, you may say, ‘God forbid that I should do so.

Nevertheless, let me tell you, that trust, confidence, reliance, and dependence, for salvation, are all acts and very solemn ones too, of divine worship:  and upon whatsoever you depend, whether in whole or in part, for your acceptance with God, and for your justification in his sight, whatsoever, you rely upon, and trust in, for the attainment of grace or glory;  if it be any thing short of God in Christ, you are an idolater for all intents and purposes.

Very different is the idea which Scripture gives us, of the ever-blessed God, from that of those false gods worshipped by the heathens;  and from that degrading representation of the true God, which Arminianism would palm upon mankind.  Our God (says this Psalm, verse the third) is in the heavens:  he hath done whatsoever he pleased.  This is not the Arminian idea of God:  for our free-willers and our chance- mongers tell us, that God does not do whatsoever he pleases;  that there are a great number of things, which God wishes to do, and rags and strives to do, and yet cannot bring to pass …  Is their god the Bible-God?  Certainly not.  Their god ‘submits’ to difficulties which he ‘cannot help’ himself out of, and endearours to make himself ‘easy’ under millions and millions of inextricable embarrassments, uncomfortable disappointments, and mortifying defeats.  …This said scheme ascends, on the ladder of blasphemy, to the mountain top of atheism;  and then hurls itself from that precipice, into the gulf of blind, adamantine necessity, in order to prove mankind free agents!

 

… One great contest, between the religion of Arminianism, and the religion of Christ, is, who shall stand entitled to the praise and glory of a sinner’s salvation? Conversion decides this point at once;  for I think that, without any imputation of uncharitableness, I may venture to say, that every truly awakened person, at least when he is under the shine of God’s countenance upon his soul, will fall down upon his knees, with this hymn of praise ascending from his heart, Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but to thy name, give the glory:  I am saved not for my righteousness, but for thy mercy and thy truth’s sake.”

 

—for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—”  Exodus 34:14.


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