recapturing the heart

Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?”   Ezekiel 14:3

 

Ezekiel 14 finds the elders of Israel coming before the prophet for a word from God, but he calls them out because they have set up idols in their hearts.

The Bible talks a lot about idols and idolatry. It can be easy to think we are far removed from this practice of worshipping false gods. We are followers of Jesus. We don’t bow down to other gods…or do we?

But what do we give priority and prominence to in our lives? What do we worship? Idolatry is anything we revere, devote our lives to, long for and live for above God. Anything that takes more of our time, more of our attention, more of our interest than God does. In truth, it’s just unchecked lust.

Yes, we are definitely idolaters at times. We make idols of our televisions, our jobs, our food, our leisure time, our plans, our dreams, and our stuff. We lust for power, recognition, appreciation from others, attention, and quick gratification.

We are idolaters; we are lusters. There is no getting around it. There are a lot of stumbling blocks before our faces. And it’s hard to see God and hear him when we have all this stuff we’ve put in front of our eyes. All this stuff we’ve set up in our hearts.

And so God asks the question, “Should I let them inquire of me at all?”

We would assume the answer is no. Who would argue otherwise? We are unfaithful, why would he answer when we call in distress—when our dead idols have failed us? But God answers his own question differently.

 “…I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.”    Ezekiel 14:4-5

 

God will answer. Not because we deserve it, but to recapture our hearts. This is great love. Love that recaptures. Love that doesn’t take a rejection as final. Love that answers the unworthy; the unfaithful. Love that answers us.

It won’t be pleasant; it won’t be easy. God goes on to make it clear that his answer isn’t a free pass. But it will be given to recapture our hearts.

What do I worship more than God? What is secretly more important? What takes my attention off of the Father?  What do I want more than anything else? What do I lust for?

 

I think we like the word idolatry because it feels far off. It feels like someone else’s problem. Lust is a word that makes us feel awkward. It makes us feel guilty. Lust is so sneaking because it convinces us it’s somebody else’s dirty secret, not ours. And it’s so dangerous because it promises what it can never deliver. It’s not just about sex either. It’s about the heart, and setting other things up above God. Lust is idolatry. And we are idolaters. We need to dig deep, to identify our lusts and uproot them from our hearts; remove them from our eyes.

We need to let God recapture our hearts.

“Sadly, until you learn to be broken and face the nature of your own idolatry you will not see the far-reaching affects of lust in your life and the life of your family. If you want to really know God, you have to go to dark places.”    – Dan Allender

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