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©Michael Player

Chapter 14:1-11 (ESV)

Posted on February 03, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 14:1-11 (ESV) - Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them? Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.”

Question to consider: What did it mean that their idolatry had been taken into their hearts?

Even though the people of Israel had been exiled into Babylon for their transgressions against God and pursuit of idols, it seemed that they continued along this path even in exile. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote about those who had a split loyalty between God and the world, “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8) The elders who came before Ezekiel were doing the same thing, seeking wisdom from God’s prophet as well as from their idols.

They were so caught up in their idolatry that it had gone beyond just witnessing a physical idol and had corrupted their hearts. Just as the double-minded man should not expect to have his prayers answered by God according to James, so God told Ezekiel that the only answer He’d give to their prayers was a message to repent.

If they refused to repent, God would set his face against them, and their judgment would be so great as to be a sign to others of God’s anger. He would do the same to those who proclaimed to speak for God but were false prophets. All of this was intended to get people to repent and turn back to God. 

It should be our desire to live before the face of God rather than to have His face set against us. Living before the face of God means doing the things that please Him, things we would not mind knowing He was watching. When we sin against God, we try to hide ourselves from His face thinking that we are sinning in secret. Of course, nothing is kept secret from God. We love the assurance given to us by Christ that He will be with us until the end of the age, but we should also think about the fact that in always being with us, our sin is never hidden from Him.

Until Christ returns, we are going to always struggle with sin. However, it should be our desire to actively root out idolatry from our lives and confess our sins. As the apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit who shows us our sin and works to conform us to the image of Christ. May we recognize the idols in our hearts and repent of them so that we may walk daily before Your face in joy. Amen.