1:45 p.m. Thursday October 14, 2021. 80F/26C.
The odd call of some forest animal can be heard off to the north. At best, it says, “waroink! Waroink! Har har har.” and then it follows its short speech by striking a tree trunk repeatedly. Its voice is high pitched and carries well. It may be a woodpecker or it may be a mammal. Such animals stay hidden so very well!
The book of Ezekiel, chapter fourteen
Abba Father, I humbly beseech thee to hear our hearts’ desires to know you more closely. Please speak to our hearts as we read your words in the Bible. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Some elders, community leaders, of the house of Israel sat before Ezekiel, to ask him to inquire of the Lord for them. But the Lord saw their sin of idolatry when he looked upon them. He instructed Ezekiel to tell them that he would respond to their inquiries in accordance to how many idols they kept and worshiped at the core, at the heart, of their daily lives. God would inspect each one individually.
That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Most of what I’ve read in the Old Testament were messages for the community at large. If a leader sinned, the people who followed were also viewed as sinners. This word to Ezekiel set a new thing in motion. God saw each individual, according to what was in each heart, the core of their daily lives.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
I love the language of the KJV. It was written before we watered down the meanings of some words and replaced their meanings with others. God said repent twice with “repent and turn”. Why? Because he was saying to repent of both idolatry and wickedness. In the book of Ezekiel, those two sins seem interconnected. “The heart” indicated human emotions, but also the center of anything. “The heart” was anything they structured their daily lives around.
Everybody, the Lord said, had separated their own selves from God. Each time they did something wicked, or worshiped an idol, they backed away further and further from God. When Ezekiel became a prophetic sensation among the exiles, they all claimed to belong to God and flocked to Ezekiel.
God warned those who were placing idol worship first in their lives. God would be against the idol worshipers, even to the point of making their foolishness remembered well after their death.
Note: It’s true! God can do that! When I eat poppy seeds on top of a pastry, I actually do remember a foolish man – wicked Haman from the story of wise and beautiful Esther in the Bible. Haman was born during the era of this prophecy of Ezekiel.
So, for every individual who put idols first and God second, for each of those who came to the prophet, God would deal with directly. God would be against that person. God would “cut him off”.
Cutting off also has another meaning – that of cutting a body into pieces and using it to prove a covenant.
God was not joking around with these people.
Life in the hollow, Thursday
When my phone rings, (and I have one of those huge old loud things that sit on a shelf and would never fit in our pockets), it is usually a wrong number or some creditor searching for a local scam artist.
For the past two weeks, I’ve received calls for Janis Solomon. She owes money. What struck me as odd was that Janis Solomon was the same as two names, side by side on my prayer list. So, if you read names on my prayer list in rapid succession, you would see Janis Solomon. That’s who they asked for.
Well, it irritated me that I got a call once a day for some random two names on my prayer list and I finally chewed out a caller and requested my number be removed. It wasn’t removed. The calls kept coming.
Have you ever had this happen? If so, let me recommend that you use the aggravation to remember to drop to your knees and pray for the people by name. I just hope I can remember this. I was stunned to go into town and find that bright and healthy Solomon had died and Janis looked like the world was on her shoulders.
And THEN the calls stopped.
They were two random people whom I had met in a store. I just had a heart for them, so I added them to my prayer list.
I’m stunned. Not only by seeing life taken so rapidly, but by the daily reminder of their names.