Today’s reading: Ezekiel 5-8.
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
God used Ezekiel to show the exiled Jews why they would not be rescued by Jerusalem. The city and its temple were defiled and had to be destroyed. God gave Ezekiel a vision of one idol after another in the temple, and each time he said, “you will see things that are even more detestable.”
The idol at the north gate. It was probably an idol to Baal. Josiah had removed it and ground it to powder, but after his death the leaders replaced it.
The secret worship. God shows Ezekiel a secret chamber in the temple where 70 elders bow down, each to their own idol of “crawling things and detestable animals.”
He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’ ” Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.” Ezekiel 8:12-13
The women’s idolatry. The women worshiped the idol, Tammuz, in public not privately, and mourned for Tammuz instead of mourning for their own sin or the destruction of their country. Tammuz was the Greek god, Adonis, relegated to the underworld for half of each year.
The idolatry of those who turn their backs to God. At the entrance of the temple, Ezekiel saw twenty-five men, probably priests, bowing down to the sun in the east with their backs to the temple.
God said each of these practices was worse than the one before. Those who worshiped idols in public were worse than those who worshiped secretly. It was worse for the women to worship idols than the men. It was worst of all when the priests turned their backs to God and worshiped the creation rather than the creator.
God made one more indictment of Jerusalem before he withdrew his spirit from the temple. The people, he said, had filled the land with violence. They were abusing each other. They began by forsaking God, which led to their abandonment of all laws and morals. And so it goes today. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Image by Jannemel on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.0