I want to show you today how seriously God takes offense to wicked deeds; the second commandment is not the only passage that talks about this (and why God hates wicked deeds). This following passage (Ezekiel 8:5 – 9:11) does, too: “Then he said to me, “Son of man, look to the north.” So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing –the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. He looked at me and said, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing there.” So I went in and looked, and saw portrayed all over the walls all sorts of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel. In front of them stood seventy elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ” Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.” Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things even more detestable than this.” 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 25 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. He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose!”
A few things before we continue: 1.) v. 7 talks about “a hole in the wall” where the 70 elders and Jaazaniah were. Some people call this a “secret sin”. I call it “sin”. But they are worshipping these evil things in secret, so as to not be caught. They’re worshipping the creation, not the Creator. This is detestable to God, as he states in the Second Commandment. 2.) The image of the 25 men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and bowing to the sun in the east, sounds a lot like Islamic behavior; praying towards the sun in the east. 3.) This image the above passage gives us is sad. People are openly (and secretly) defying the Holiness of God and worshipping “detestable animals” as verse 10 states. this almost if not completely compels you to do something about it. This so was the case for Ezekiel’s guide. Look at 8:18-9:11: “Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will neither look on them in pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” (9:1:) Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand.” And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood before the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” As I listened, He said to the others, “Follow him throughout the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple. Then He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell face down, crying out, “Ah, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” He answered me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city full of injustice. They say, ‘the Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.” Then the man in linen with the writing kit on his side brought back word saying, “I have done as you commanded.”
Wow. God doesn’t listen to the evil Israelites even though they shout in His ear. That is a fearsome thought. You would hate to be on the receiving end. Yet we were, once upon a time. However, for those of us who are saved, we’ve been saved from God’s wrath by the blood of Jesus Christ. What a glorious thought!