Cast off From God (Ezekiel 6 Study)
By Benjamin H. Liles
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, turn your face toward the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. You are to say: Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! This is what the Lord God says to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars will be desolated and your incense altars smashed. I will throw down your slain in front of your idols. I will lay the corpses of
the Israelites in front of their idols and scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you live the cities will be in ruins and the high places will be desolate, so that your altars will lie in ruins and be desecrated, your idols smashed and obliterated, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am Yahweh. You will all know that I am Yahweh when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, and under every green tree and every leafy oak—the places where they offered pleasing aromas to all their idols. I will stretch out My hand against them, and wherever they live I will make the land a desolate waste, from the wilderness to Diblah. Then they will know that I am Yahweh. ~ Ezekiel 6:1-7, 13-14, Holman Christian Standard
If we notice the similarity between Ezekiel 6 as well as 1 Corinthians 6:7-10 we see God hates idolatry as much as any other sin. Paul says expressly, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, "Do you not know that they unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, New King James).
Now there is a lot of debate that Christians, including myself, misuse the verses I've mentioned. We're going to put this debate to bed, so to speak. The Greek word Paul uses, which when translated is homosexual, is the word arsenokoites. It is a compound word from two other words: arren, which means man, and koite (pronounced koy'-tay) meaning a bed, marriage bed. In looking at the word under Word Study Helps it translates, a man in bed with another man; we term this as homosexual. It also applies to two women in bed.
Please, don't get me wrong here. I have nothing against others who sin when I myself sin as well. But we need to show a level of understanding and what the difference between a believer of Jesus Christ and unrighteous people do. The one who follows Christ is willing to put off the old self; this person does not delight in doing the wrong.
Paul says this about the sinful nature in regards to God's law: "Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me" (Romans 7:13-20, New King James).
And then Paul says this, "I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin" (Romans 7:21-25, New American Standard).
What we need to understand is a very huge difference. God did what He did to Israel as they had His word, the Laws of Moses, and yet they didn't do as God commanded them. Moses told the Israelites, flat out, "Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:
“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
“Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
“The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (Deuteronomy 28:1-8, New American Standard).
Those who did as God commanded, in the Old Testament by obeying God's laws, would receive blessing. However, as we can see in Ezekiel and other prophets that the people went the way of those who had authority over them. In this manner, because they followed after their leaders rather than rejecting them and doing as God said they heaped up for themselves a host of problems. God sent nations after them, to enslave and pillage, murder and plunder their cities.
Again, the difference is that those who proceeded the Jews and religious leaders of 1st Century Judea, meaning Jerusalem and Israel, weren't looking to God's promised Son who came in the form of Jesus Christ. He came and died in our place, while we were still at odds with Him, God, so that we would have a way back to Him. Article after article I have written to now I have stated in different ways, and the Bible says it as well: "For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8, Berean Study Bible).
We can have eternal life with God, but we have to be willing to see sin as what it is. It keeps us separate from Him and His merciful grace and love towards us even while we were at odds with Him. And this is the gospel of Christ. We have had access to the law, for it is imprinted on us, our hearts. When we do that which is right, our conscience bears with us, showing us the right we do. When we do wrong our conscience bears witness against us, showing us how we have done wrong. What are those wrong things? Stealing, hating others (Christ said hating someone is the same as committing murder), disobeying God, our father, our mother, and even our own neighbor too.
When we come to Christ, asking Him to forgive us the debt we cannot even begin to repay He calls us "redeemed, forgiven, restored, made whole." But we have to keep on in our new lives in following Him. There is a reason Christ said, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’" (Luke 14:27-30, New American Standard).
We need to count the cost we have to make in order to have God's righteousness, Jesus Christ, evident in our lives. It means putting off our past; handing Him our sins, the baggage which keeps us from running free, and living for and in Him. We need to see whether or not He is at the center of our lives. If He isn't then we aren't heading for home with Him, but we have chosen the broad way that leads to death. We need to look to Jesus, the narrow way, the way that leads to life so we can spend eternity with Him forever praising and thanking Him for doing what He has on our behalf.
I don't know about anyone else, but I desire, with the angels and countless others, to be able to sing, "The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing! Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:12-13, Holman Christian Standard). I don't want to allow a temporary case of sinfulness keep me from being Heaven-bound. I want Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I want to be made in His likeness, giving my life back to Him who laid His life down for me, so that others may also live. This is my ministry to Him, to you as well.
Father, I know there are those who won't do as You desire of them. Forgive them anyway. Bless them in spite of themselves, Lord Jesus. I thank You for all You are, what You have and will do, and for allowing me the right to have the ministry that I do. I want You known, and I know I say that a great deal. But Your name is far more important than my own. At Your name, Lord Jesus, the knee will bow. Every tongue will end up confessing You alone are Lord. This is why I do what I do. I want You known for Your righteousness, for Your name sake, for Your glory and honor. I want others to see they can be forgiven. There is nothing that can keep them from You or Your love. Help me, Lord Jesus, to keep doing Your will in my life. Help me also to forgive those who hurt me, who profane You and Your name. Give us all the portion we need so that we can see You with eyes of faith, humility, and honor. I ask this in Jesus holy and precious name.