Summary: Challenging message about mixing worship with worldliness.
Ezekiel 8:1-12 KJV And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.  Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.  And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.  And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.  Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.  He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.  And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.  Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.  And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.  So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.  And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.  Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
l. INTRODUCTION -- THE BACKGROUND SURROUNDING THE TEXT
-Ezekiel was somewhere in between the ages of 25-30 when Judah was taken into captivity. He along with 10,000 others lived in exile in Babylon during the time frame of his writings.
-The Babylonians attacked Jerusalem in the neighborhood of 597 B.C. In 586 B.C. a third deportation of Jews would be taken out and carried to Babylonian to serve their captors.
-He was a man who was very troubled at what was occurring in Jerusalem because of the captivity that had taken place there.
-He had to endure the death of his wife and the hard-heartedness of those to whom the prophet was called to preach to. In fact, tradition indicates to us that he was ultimately killed by one of the Israelites princes whom he had rebuked for idolatry.
-This was Ezekiel’s day. It was hard, it was demanding, it was costly, but this faithful prophet continued to raise his voice as loudly as he could in an attempt to gain the attention of the wayward Jews.
A. He Marched to a Different Drummer
-Ezekiel certainly marched to the beat of a different drummer. The Bible very clearly stipulates to us some very strange things that this prophet did to gain his hearer’s attention.
• He drew a small map of Jerusalem on the ground and then set up toy soldiers with armies complete with battering rams to show how Israel was going to be taken down (4:1-3).
• He lay on the ground on his left side for 390 days to symbolize the sin of the Northern Kingdom. Each day was symbolic of a year (4:4-5).
• He then lay on the ground of his right side for 40 days to symbolize the sin of the Southern Kingdom. Each day was symbolic of a year (4:6).
• He cooked a very scant meal with mixed grains and then cooked it over cow dung. This object lesson was to show how scarce that food was ultimately going to be (4:9-17).
• He shaved his head and beard. Then he divided the cuttings into three parts. One part was burned, a second was cut up with a sword, and a third was scattered to the wind. All of this was to give Judah and Jerusalem a picture of their trouble. One third of the people would die by fire in a siege, one third would die by the sword, and one third would be scattered to the winds (5:1-4).