Thursday, August 23, 2012

sinful feelings

Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
Ezekiel 14:3

The elders of Israel had come to Ezekiel, recognizing him as a prophet. It is implied that they want to hear what he has to say. But there is a huge problem. They have not repented of their idolatry. They wanted to hear God's prophet. Yet they had no intention of letting go of their idols and truly worshiping God.

The way in which their condition is described twice in this context makes it clear that they were not serious with God. God is also not interested in speaking to them while they were in this condition. They have tied their hearts, their affections, their emotions and feelings, to idolatry. And they will not remove their idols from their hearts. God says it is as if an idol is strapped to their faces... that's how close their sins were to them. And they will not cease. Their inquiry is not repentant. And for that reason God would not answer them with anything other than an analysis of their sinful idolatrous heart conditions.

Humans were built for worship. We search for our own significance. We assign significance to people, places, events, and things around us. We were created to worship God. Sin inevitably warps us into the worship of what is not God. And when we do so, those false gods will be drawn into our hearts. We become emotionally committed to what we worship. It is a deep personal bond. We take idols into our hearts.

God is right to insist that we break those attachments and renounce sinful feelings before we truly can return to Him. We tend to want to see emotions as morally neutral and symptomatic... not part of the problem itself. But God is clear that they are not neutral. That alone is clear reason to reject our feelings as sinful when they contradict God or His Word. We need to change the way we choose to feel about our false worship.

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