KNOWING GOD IN ALL HIS GLORY
How you do not want to know God
Jerry A. Collins
® Does God take sin seriously?
® What is the nature of the sin of idolatry?
® Can we practice the sin of idolatry today?
It is generally true that judgment promotes knowledge. Most of the things we have learned in life have come from either the threat of judgment or the experience of judgment. A reason why I attempted to complete my class work in seminary was because of the being judged by grades. The reason I do my job the way I do is because of the threat of the loss of my job. The reason why my brother reformed himself was because of the judgment of spending four years in prison. The reason why we have messages like quit smoking, dont drink and drive, wear our seatbelts is because judgment promotes knowledge.
Godís judgment is to promote knowledge of Himself amongst His people. Ezekiel, His prophet, has two messages of judgment to deliver to Israel and thru these impending judgment he predicts that people will know God. But it is not the way God wants us to know Him. However, left with no alternative, God executes His justice custom designed to increase our knowledge of Him!
Before the 2 messages of judgment are delivered we have an introduction that states three general reasons given for God judging Jerusalem.
(1) THEY REJECTED GODS ORDINANCES AND FAILED TO WALK IN HIS STATUTES 5:5-8
God was not capriciously inflicting punishment on Jerusalem. It came because of her rebellion. Israel should have been a witness of the One true God but failed.
When God disciplines us it is always to get us back on track from where we have turned from His Word. The question we need to ask ourselves when we know of Gods wrath in our lives is where have I turned aside from the Word of God in my life?
(2) BECAUSE OF ALL OF THEIR ABOMINATIONS 5:9-12
The abominations here are linked to their idolatry vs 11. Their evil practices associated with idolatry like temple prostitution, child sacrifice, prayers, incense. Here is a judgment the likes of which has never been before or will be again. Cannibalism during the siege when fathers would eat their own sons and sons their fathers. God would also scatter most of the survivors. He would also withdraw His presence from His people because of defiling the temple with their idols. Two thirds would die!
(3) BECAUSE THIS JUDGMENT WILL PROMOTE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD 13-17
66 times this phrase if used in Ezekiel. God will spent his wrath upon His rebellious people through famine, wild beasts, plague and bloodshed.
Justice is an attribute of God. Justice requires Gods wrath to be spent (6:12). We in the church age live in an age of grace where justice is postponed but not ignored. We have never experienced life w/o grace but grace is a work of God not an attribute of God. Because God is just He is always right in His treatment of good and evil. The full wrath of God seen at two great moments in history. At the great white throne judgment of mankind and at the cross of Christ where Gods wrath poured out on His Son. If you come to Christ then His substitutionary death will protect you from the last judgment.
Now we have 2 messages of judgment from Ezekiel.
(1) THE CAUSE OF JUDGMENT IS BECAUSE OF THE IDOLATRY IN THE HIGH PLACES† CHP 6
This message like the second one begins with the phrase the Word of the Lord came to me saying vs 1. Ezekiel was to set his face against the mountains of Israel. This imagery conveys the idea of determined hostility. The instrument of Gods judgment was being aimed at its intended target. And what is that target? The shrines to false gods set up throughout the land. These elevated sites supposedly brot the worshipper closer to their deity. These were originally places set up by the canaanites for various kinds of idolatry including baal worship, sexual acts, sorcery, spiritism and divination, animal worship, child sacrifice. The Israelites adopted the use of the canaanite gods and mixed idolatry with its worship of God. This conflict between the true worship and false worship often centered on these high places in Israel. God will destroy these places, their bodies and bones scattered before the idols and once again the result will be that you will know that I am the Lord vs 7. The judgment of God will promote knowledge of God. This knowledge will be experienced in the hearts of a remnant who survives the judgment and it will be evidenced to God by repentance vs 9. They will loathe themselves not exactly self-actualization as we hear from people like Stephen Covey of 7 habits of highly effective people fame. Repentance begins with depression. I am bothered about something in my life and it causes grief! This repentance indicates that then you will know that I am the Lord vs 13. Throughout the land it will be desolate and a waste vs 14. That is why Israel is a desolate place today from north to south. Some question 1. What is idolatry? 2. Why did Israel practice it? 3. What is it today? Answers: 1. Idolatry is serving a god who gives you what you want. 2. Israel practiced idolatry because they wanted things beyond what God gave them. The problem with giving us a piece of bread is that we want cheese & meat on our bread. 3. Today idolatry is the god of tolerance or materialism or prosperity or experience.
(2) THE EXTENT OF COMING JUDGMENT IS SEVERE CHP 7
This message also begins with the phrase the word of the Lord came to me saying vs 1. The theme here is that the whole land would be effected by the coming Babylon conquest an end, the end is coming vs 2, an end is coming vs 6. Three more times God announces that this severe judgment will promote knowledge of God vs 4, 9, 27. What is it exactly that ended with this judgment? 1. The presence of the ark of the covenant. 2. The glory of God over the Temple. 3. The reign of the kings although that would be continued by David & Christ in the millenium. 4. The nation ruling itself w/o outside interference. They will no loner maintain their lives by their sin of bribery, pay offs, lies, cheating clients, stealing from the company vs 13. They will loathe the wealth they received that way vs 19 1. because of inability for it to buy security for them as a useless means of deliverance 2. could not satisfy their hunger in the famine. 3 additional reasons in for this severe judgment include (1) cheating vs 13 (2) bloody crimes vs 23 (3) pride vs 24 no dependence on God.
1. There is never the possibility of sinning and getting away with it. There is a just God everyone of us is accountable too and though in this age of grace justice will be required
2. No xian will ever be glad that he sinned when in heaven. We will not regret our circumstances but our sin and disobedience.
3. Keep short accounts with God by confession. With longer term sin pratice repentance. Do not assume its OK!