Throughout the book, Ezekiel did not mince words when denouncing the rampant idolatry around him…comparing it to infidelity and prostitution. He also didn’t curb his words, accusing the Jews of being stubborn, self-righteous, and rebellious. It got to the point of alienation that God Himself said, “No, I won’t listen to you anymore.” The people were putting their trust in created things like gold and silver… but God warned all that, “Gold and silver will not be able to save them in the day of the Lord’s wrath.” (Ezekiel 7:19)
Let’s get this straight…God does not tempt us. Instead, our own evil desires do a really good job of that. And it’s when we allow our own deceptive imaginings to fester and grow, that sin has a foothold. You might call this day-dreaming…part pleasant reverie, part suggestive fantasy…but all of it giving rise to deception and lies in our thought life. And whenever you allow your day-dreaming to “go there”…whatever that is for you, you’re being tempted to give in to sinful thinking. That’s when we need to stop and remember II Corinthians 10:5, which cautions us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.
The 32 Psalm is called a Penitential psalm, where the writer, David, acknowledges his willful and rebellious acts of rejecting God’s authority. Within it David expresses his feelings of repentance and holy sorrow…asking God to forgive and remove his sin – and bless him. It goes on to say in verse 2 of this Chapter, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” We will be truly blessed of God when we come taking responsibility for our actions and asking for forgiveness.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.
We probably all know a person who has fallen away. Someone who consciously rejected the spiritual enlightenment they had once received…who had tasted of God’s goodness, but chose instead to abandon their faith. And when we intentionally reject Jesus Christ, we’re essentially saying that His sacrifice on the Cross meant nothing. For when anyone falls away, they have turned their back on God’s truth and can only then look forward to His final judgment.
The world doesn’t talk about sin as such. To them, sin is an archaic word. They’d rather shape the idea of sin into a palatable and more tolerable commodity that people will just accept without question. I found an interesting quote about this. The world says, ” My right is my duty.” The Christian says, “My duty is my right.” The question here being – what is your focus…putting yourself before others… or putting others before yourself? This is where sin and truth collide…it’s where the world deceives us into thinking sin isn’t that big of a deal…but truth tells us we need to come out from under the cloud of lies and self-indulgence and repent.
God is reminding the Jewish people of how He had miraculously broken off the oppressive state they had endured by the Egyptians. How He had lifted the heavy yoke from their neck of subjugation, submission, and servitude…which then empowered them to stand in an upright posture, with heads held high. God had broken off the yoke of slavery and set the Jewish people free. And just as God liberated them…Jesus has come to free us from the bondage of sin. For it tells us in Galatians 5:1, ” It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” When Jesus comes into our lives, the bonds of sin are broken…the yoke of guilt and shame are lifted…and we too are then able to walk free with our heads held high.
All of us do it…we daydream. Pleasant fantasies that transport us from the drab and boring into over the top imaginings. But if we indulge in these musings more and more, they will soon take over our life…for the real world can never compete with fantasy. And it’s here in this verse we’re warned about willful pleasure-seeking thoughts. As humans living in a sinful world – ungodly thoughts are going to drop into our minds…thoughts that can even shock and embarrass us. Like, “Where did THAT come from?!!) But it’s at that moment we have to take captive that thought and make it obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5) For if we give in and allow these thoughts to have their way in our mind…our vivid daydreams will lead us farther and farther from God into disobedience.
I urge you to read this Psalm sometime today…for within the 43 verses, you’ll see yourself portrayed somewhere. For this passage tells of those who wander and are lost. It tells of being in desperate situations…places that invoke feelings of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. There are the lost – those who are wandering alone in the wilderness. There are the guilty – those who are slaves to sin and full of shame and self-loathing. There are the fools – godless ones being deceived by the world. Finally, there are the tossed – those who have been battered by life’s storms. But in all these situations, when they cried out to God for help, He answered. So despite what you’re going through today… God is there, ready and willing to help you.