Lamentations 2:1 – Ezekiel 12:20
Today’s reading includes the book of Lamentations and the beginning of Ezekiel. Even though most of the book of Lamentations speaks to the sad circumstances of a people who God has handed over to the ungodly because of their sin, it also reveals a glimmer of hope. In the middle of the book the author speaks of God’s great faithfulness, love and never failing compassion. Moving on to the book of Ezekiel, we learn that Ezekiel himself was taken captive to Babylon. The prophet was married but his wife died on the very same day that Jerusalem fell. At this point in the reading Jerusalem is still standing but it has been taken over and plummeted. Ezekiel sees God in a vision. Then, the Word of the Lord came to him. God tells him to “listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.” The people may or may not listen but God commands Ezekiel to speak to them saying ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says”. Later God shows Ezekiel how unfaithful his people are. Seven elders are displayed to him and they are in the temple burning incense to false idols.
Scripture Ezekiel 8:16
16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.
God is showing Ezekiel some of the detestable practices that are taking place by the people of Judah. He takes the prophet to the inner court of the temple and there are many men lined up with their backs towards the temple. This is a very ironic picture that displays the hearts of these men. They have turned their backs on God and are opposed to worshiping the one true God. Instead, they turn their faces towards the east and bow down to the sun. God created the sun and everything else, but the worship these men are practicing is misdirected. For this reason and many others, God will use the exile to bring his people back to Him.
While it may be a similar message that we heard many times before, it can’t be said enough. “You Should Have No Other Gods Before Me” and “Love the Lord Your God With All Your Heart”. As direct and easy to understand these commands are, the Israelites just could not get this right. It is also a struggle for many of us. We may not bow down to the sun like these men were doing but instead, place other things higher on our priority list than the Lord. He wants our hearts, minds and soul to long for Him. He wants to be first and have nothing else more important in our lives than Him.
Lord I pray that my relationship continues to grow with you. Help me to guard my time and thoughts so you come first.