KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
Motivated by Lust
Jerry A Collins
P What happens when lust has its way with us?
P What is the relationship between temptation and lust?
P Where does our lusting come from?
Why do we sin? In other words what is there in us that causes us to do those things which are contrary to the character of God? Ever have this problem? James tells us that our lust or desire is what causes us to sin when we are carried away by it (James 1:14-15). So we sin when we are carried away by our desires. That is, bad desires, since there are also good desires. So James is telling us that the root of all sin comes by focusing on those desires within us that are contrary to God. Itís called lust and when it is conceived in us it gives birth to sin. When sin is birthed it brings death. Sin initially takes the form of
(1) Disobedience-We disagree with God about what is good and evil i.e. what is in our best interests, because of our desires (Adam & Eve).
(2) Hypocrisy-We take upon ourselves Godís work of determining what is good and evil (Pharisees).
(3) Blasphemy-We declare good to be evil and evil to be good according to our desires (Jude 16).
(4) Idolatry-We make or re-make God into what our desires want Him to be (God wants me to be happy)
This is the path the nation of Israel has chosen to walk. It is the path of death and everyone who walks it can expect death-dealing consequences. Here Ezekiel illustrates Judahís unfaithfulness to God by stressing her illicit foreign alliances, hoping in other nations as well as her idolatry, trusting in other gods. It has all been motivated by Lust.
1. WHEN LUST IS CONCEIVED IT PRODUCES A CYCLE OF SIN 1-21
In vss 1-4 both Samaria, representing the Northern Kingdom, and Jerusalem, representing the Southern Kingdom are identified and characterized as illicit lovers. Both nations are accused by God as such in vs 5 and vs 11.† 7 times they are accused of Lusting after other lovers (5,7,9,12.16,20). They are identified as sisters named Oholah meaning she who has her own tent probably referring to the place of worship set up by Jeroboam in Samaria. Oholibah means a tent is in her most likely referring to the Temple in Jerusalem established by God. The Northern Kingdoms lust is mentioned through verse 10 and the Southern Kingdom through verse 21. They lusted while she was mine says the Lord vs 5. In other words, they desired something from the other nations instead of desiring what they could have with God. Their lusts apparently included (1) Physical sexual desire (vs 48). (2) Desire for more and better stuff from the Babylonians, i.e., materialism (vs 12-15). (3) Idols (vs 7). (4) Protection from their enemies (12, 14, 21). This kind of lust had been an issue for Israel even while they were still in Egypt (vs 3, 19) and never left her. Her cycle of sin brought her back to the very nation with which she had originally been defiled and which had enslaved her and was delivered from 900 years ago. The last 14 years of Judahs history she attempted to elicit Egyptís help in her revolt against Babylon. Judah eagerly grasped Egyptís hollow promises of aid. Zedekiahs final revolt in 588 came with Egyptís promise of additional help which never materialized.
The root of all evil (& all good) is our desire. When our desire is for perversion of good thats lust. Lust is an appetite and appetites have the following general characteristics and there are exceptions. (1) They do not go away (alcohol, food, sex, materialism, slothfulness, anger, envy, hatred, jealousy) and many others. The appetites you have will probably never go away. (2) If you give in to them they seem to go away. You may even temporarily hate them (vs 17). But in reality they just intensify. (3) Our task is not to eliminate bad appetites. That will be done in our resurrected bodies. Our job is to control them. Put restraints upon them. Suppress them. Not give into them. Set them aside. Starve them. This process is described in 1 Cor 9:27 where we are to control our body and make it our slave so we do not disqualify ourselves from Godís service. When your desires become lustful you will pursue your own interests sinfully and invite into your life a cycle of sin that you will most likely struggle with for the rest of your life. That is one reason why the Bible tells us to flee youthful lust because once tasted it invites into your life more of its sin. It is never ever better to have sinned! 2. THE CYCLE OF SIN PRODUCED BY LUST INEVITABLY BRINGS DEATH
The rest of the chapter guarantees the nations destruction from the very nations they have been lusting after (vs 22). These lovers of theirs turn on them and† degrade them. Ezekiel pronounces 4 oracles graphically describes the degrading each beginning with the phrase Thus says the Lord God. (1) They will become unattractive (22-27). A large allied army descending upon them (vs 24) will do facial mutilation (25) which would deface the nation and make her unattractive any longer to the foreign nations. Common practice to deface adulterers making them grotesque and undesirable to anyone else.
(2) They will become worthless (28-31). The repetition of the nation being made naked and bare, exposed and vulnerable emphasizes the nation will become destitute and desolate. Completely worthless to the powers anymore.† (3) They will become the subject of shame and scorn (32-34). In modern English this poem says the nation will become a laughingstock. Their origins will have been forgotten and her destiny shattered. (4) They will become the object of Gods wrath (35).† This is the reason why believers sin. They forget God. Godís punishment would cure Judahís lust completely. Unattractive, worthless and shameful no-one would desire her again and she could no longer make herself desirous. Sin always produces death! Sin never gives life it just takes it away. It destroys marriages, reputations, body, attitudes, character, integrity, opportunity, hope. Death is separation from God illustrated and accomplished by the physical death of an unbeliever. This process can be reversed at any time short of death by repentance brot about by a righteous desire in our conscience. But the further away from God we move the weaker our conscience and less likely the repentance.
(1) Go to war against your lust. Fight for complete victory.
(2) Stay away from anything that feeds your lust.
(3) Purge the urge. Accountable. Suppress
(4) Repent as a lifestyle.