The Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices! Ezekiel 14:6
“Do you see it, brother Tim?” My friend, a Ghanaian pastor, flashed his torchlight on a carved object leaning against a mud hut. Quietly he said, “That is the village idol.” Each Tuesday evening, Pastor Sam traveled into the bush to share the Bible in this remote village.
In the book of Ezekiel, we see how idolatry plagued the people of Judah. When Jerusalem’s leaders came to see the prophet Ezekiel, God told him, “These men have set up idols in their hearts” (14:3). God wasn’t merely warning them against idols carved of wood and stone. He was showing them that idolatry is a problem of the heart. We all struggle with it.
Bible teacher Alistair Begg describes an idol as “anything other than God that we regard as essential to our peace, our self-image, our contentment, or our acceptability.” Even things that have the appearance of being noble can become idols to us. When we seek comfort or self-worth from anything other than the living God, we commit idolatry.
“Repent!” God said. “Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!” (v. 6). Israel proved incapable of doing this. Thankfully, God had the solution. Looking forward to the coming of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, He promised, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (36:26). We can’t do this alone.
When stress hits you, where do you turn for comfort? What might you need to turn away from today?
Father, show me the idols in my heart. Then help me destroy them and live in Your love.
As part of their subjugation strategy, the Babylonians forcibly exiled Jewish royalty, military leaders, and skilled workers to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10–16; Daniel 1:1–5), including the prophet and priest Ezekiel. He was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon when he started ministering (Ezekiel 1:1–3) to the Jews in exile (3:11) as well as to those still residing in Judah (12:10). After condemning the false prophets who taught that God wouldn’t punish His people for their sins (chs. 12–13), Ezekiel confronted the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy and idolatry and urged God’s people to repent and turn from their idols (14:1–8).