Summary: Exposition of Ezekiel 8-9 regarding the idolatry and judgment of Israel in preparation for our Fall Revival
Text: Ezekiel 9:1-11, Title: Where are the Marked Men? Date/Place: NRBC
A. Opening illustration: words to the song by Matt Papa, Where’s the Difference?
B. Background to passage: Ezekiel 8-11 are four successive visions given on Sept 18, 592 BC. In chapter 8, God is showing the elders of Israel who are gathered in Ezekiel’s home in exile in Babylon, the gross idolatry that was provoking His jealousy (and also their violence toward each other that was provoking His anger). As I read in Deut 31 this week, God told Moses that the people would take the land, grow fat, and then turn and serve other gods forsaking the Lord, then accusing Him of forsaking them (just like in our text today). And God would judge them, turn from them, and scatter them. So here in Ezekiel, he showed them of the defilement of four groups of people covering all socio-economic strata of people, and ending with the worse the leaders in the inner court of the temple worshiping the sun god with their backs turned to God. The presence of God begins to leave the temple at this point as well, making the first of three stages of departure. And in all of these things, God pronounces judgment without mercy. Chapter 9 outlines that judgment and gives the character of the only people who will survive it…
C. Main thought: God, prepare our hearts for FCW
A. The Unseen Idols (v. 8:5, 10, 14, 16)
1. When Ezek 9 begins, God is instructing angels of destruction to kill. And so one must ask why. In Ezek 8, it is obvious. God shows Ezekiel in a vision the gross idolatries that were and are going on in Jerusalem. First was the image of jealousy just north of the altar gate. Then was the leadership of Israel worshiping animals, and probably the Egyptian pantheon in the city. Then the women weeping for Tammuz at the entrance to the temple. Then finally, the leaders of Israel, in the inner court worshiping the sun god with their backs turned on God! God says it is not a trivial thing to exalt other gods. Then to “thumb their nose” at God all the more, they then returned to God in order to have the appearance of genuine religion. “Idolatry is by far the most frequently discussed problem in the scriptures” –David Powell, Biblical Counselor.
2. 2 Tim 3:5, Matt 15:19, 23:27, Heb 10:26-31, Ezek 14:4-5, Rom 1:21-25
3. Illustration: “Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped.” -Augustine. WHAT IS YOUR GOD? "Whatever you love most, serve most, seek out most, give to the most, worship the most, and care about the most is your god. Your “god” can be your career, your bank account, the way you look, a particular position or degree, influence, power, or physical pleasure. It can even be something that is considered intrinsically good, yet you allow it to dominate your life more than God – such as your marriage or your family. Your “god” is whatever you allow to control you, to be the ultimate guide to decision making, the place of your supreme loyalty, and the source of your self-worth." –James White, “We bow our hearts, we bend our knees, O Spirit, come make us holy. We turn our eyes from evil things, O Lord, we cast down our idols! Give us clean hands! Give us pure hearts! Let us not lift our souls to another…”