Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ezekiel 6 - God Cleans House

Have you ever been someplace or seen something that looked and smelled so bad you wanted to throw up? I grew up in Indiana and worked on farms when I was a kid. I had to help someone clean a chicken coop. Now, I had mucked stalls and dealt with pigs, but I had never shoveled chicken droppings before. It is the most disgusting smell I have ever known! I had to wear a mask so that I would not breathe in any particles (disgusting thought!). It was horrible!

In Ezekiel 6, the words that God gave Ezekiel concerning the idols that Israel were worshiping to were very graphic words that translators soften for readers. The term for idols is translated literally as sheep s**t. God wanted Israel to realize that anything they worship other than Yahweh was sheep dung. They might as well have a pile of sheep manure and bow down to that! God, in no way, was going to allow this to happen and told them He was going to level and obliterate every idol, alter and pole that they put up to worship. And he was going to wipe out most of them.

You should read chapter 6, then look at what Daniel Block has to say about this chapter. Here are 5 good ideas that Block has that applies to the modern church:
  1. This oracle shows the impassioned side of God's character. He is heartbroken of the infidelity of His people and His fury and anger arises due to their covenantal treachery. He will not idly stand by and watch His people follow other gods.
  2. It is possible to be sincere in one's religious commitment, but to be sincerely in error. Israel invested a lot of time and resources to their cultic practices and locations. This is where the references to sheep poo come in to play.
  3. The Lord is faithful to His covenant. He had already warned them of what would happen and He will not betray His character. He is Yahweh; he has spoken; he acts accordingly.
  4. The Lord's wrath is never so hot that it cancels out his grace. He swept the mountain tops and the valleys with his sword, but he promised he would leave a remnant.
  5. We are reminded to look at ourselves as God sees us. There is nothing about us that warrants God's love. We are created in His image, but everything about us smells of sheep droppings. It is only through the blood of Christ that a pile of manure can have a sweet aroma to God.
Any thoughts?

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