Many who have no idols in their sanctuary have idols in their hearts,
which is no less a usurpation of God’s throne.
Those who have made gods of money and sensual pleasure cannot expect an answer of peace from God,
but on the contrary are ripening for utter ruin.
1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 ¶ Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;
11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.
12 ¶ The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,
13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
15 ¶ If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
16 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17 ¶ Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19 ¶ Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
22 ¶ Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezekiel 14:1-6, 12-23 – Reaping as We Sow
It is useless to approach God with prayers and inquiries for guidance, as long as our hearts are filled with secret sins and cherished idols. If we regard iniquity in our hearts God cannot hear us. It often happens when men purpose a certain evil course, that everything seems to favor them. For a striking example of this, see I Kings 22:6, 15. The second paragraph describes the inveteracy of their sin. Jeremiah had affirmed that Judah’s guilt was too great to be pardoned upon the intercession of Moses or of Samuel, Jeremiah 14:2; 15:1. Ezekiel adds three other revered names. In the four hypothetical cases of famine, noisome beasts, the sword, and pestilence, such men would succeed only in saving their own lives; but even in such cases there would be an elect remnant, who would be comforted as they recognized the evidences of the divine rectitude. Yes, as we look back on the history of our race we shall be comforted; we shall feel that God could have done no other; we shall reap the blessing which has been evolved out of events and movements that we had misunderstood or feared. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Ezekiel 14:22—Ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem.
The sin of Jerusalem was so heinous that God was constrained to send on her his four sore judgments all at once and together. Each alone was so terrible that Noah, Daniel, and Job, had they been living, would only have succeeded in saving their own souls; but how much more when they befell the land unitedly! But, Jehovah says, ye shall come to know, when you review my work from the vantage-ground of the years, that I have not done without cause (or in vain) all that I have done (Ezekiel 14:23). Ye shall be comforted, when a remnant of sons and daughters escapes, who see and acknowledge their sinful ways and deeds.
Those words deserve to be carefully pondered. They seem to contain the very essence of God’s thoughts in his dealings with us during the present age. “Ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done” (Ezekiel 14:23). We do not know the cause of so much that crushes us to the ground. But if we did know it as well as we shall know it some day, we should have no difficulty in reconciling God’s dealings with his perfect love.
Yes, some day we shall be comforted! Comforted as to God’s meaning in our sorrows and trials! Comforted as to his dealings with our dear ones! Comforted about his government of the whole universe, of which the world is part! We shall see that there was a cause or reason for all God’s stern discipline. We shall admit that it was wisely adapted to its end, and achieved it. We are too prone to judge God hastily and superficially, instead of waiting to see the “end of the Lord” (James 5:11), when all his reasons and purposes will be explained from the great white throne (see Revelation 15:3). —Our Daily Homily