“Son of man, these leaders have SET UP IDOLS IN THEIR HEARTS. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests?”
Ezekiel 14:3 (NLT)
• Some of the leaders of Israel visited Prophet Ezekiel with premeditated plans in their hearts, yet they wanted God to speak to them.
- Many believers, like leaders of Israel, have set up idols in their hearts, yet they want to inquire of God.
- If you come to God with idols in your heart, you want to receive directions; God may not speak. God will answer you in accordance with the state of your heart.
“‘Thus says the Lord God: “Every one of the house of Israel who SETS UP HIS IDOLS IN HIS HEART and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols.”
Ezekiel 14:4 (NKJV)
• The Hebrew word translated idol in our text is gillūl. It means a log; literally or figuratively it means commit, seek occasion, trust, wallow.
- In other words, the leaders of Israel came to Ezekiel to receive from God while they are committed to other gods in their hearts; trust in other things apart from God; and they wallow, take pleasure in their iniquities
• Object of devotion:
- God said, whoever comes to Him with trust in a thing or a person, apart from Him, will receive answer to their requests or prayers based on the multitude of their idols—the object of their heart ❤️ devotion.
- Most of the so-called believers have someone or something as the object of their hearts devotion, they have the potential for idolatry within them.
- God wants to recapture the hearts of His people. We must never let anything captivate our allegiance or imagination in such a way that it replaces or weakens our devotion to God.
- You have idols in your heart ❤️: when you pursue reputation, acceptance, wealth, or sensual pleasure with the intensity and commitment that should be reserved for serving God.
- Idol could also be a premeditated plan which you have resolved to carry out.
- God will lead people who are humble, who are ready to follow His will, ready to discard their plans and embrace His:“The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way" (Psalm 25:9).
• Flesh—Carnal mindedness
- “For to be carnally [fleshly] minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not SUBJECT to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
Romans 8:6,7 (NKJV)
- The word flesh or carnal in the above Scripture means:
(I) The body as opposed to the soul or spirit [inward man] (Romans 7:18).
(II) It also means symbol of what is external–the body (1 Corinthians 6:16).
(III) It also implies human nature with its frailties [physical or moral] and passions (Romans 13:14).
(IV) It means, specifically, a human being (Romans 11:4).
- Out of the four meanings of the word FLESH or CARNAL which are highlighted above, we want to concentrate on the first and the third points:
~ The flesh or body as opposed to the soul or spirit.
~ The flesh as human nature with its frailties and passions.
- Flesh also known as human nature with passions would want you to believe you are capable, that you can get what you want without God’s approval or help.
- Flesh also known as self-will wants you to believe that you know what is good for yourself, and you already have plans on how to get it (Proverbs 16:25).
- Flesh which opposes the spirit would want you to believe the way of God is cumbersome—slow and not very efficient (Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
- Flesh also would want you to believe that the way of God is too narrow and difficult, that you cannot fulfil in life if you follow it, that is, the narrow way (Matthew 7:14).
- Being fleshly or carnally means pride; it means you trust in your own ability and judgement. You believe in your viewpoint and resolve (1 Corinthians 1:19,20).
- God will humble every proud soul who will not submit to His will. He will deal with such a person until he or she has no confidence in self (James 4:6).
- Neither will He use a proud soul for His work—to carry out His plans.
- God wants acknowledgement and total submission from whoever wants to follow Him (Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 10:3).
- You may succeed in deceiving man, but you cannot deceive God. He knows every plan and thought of your heart.
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a LOYAL HEART and with a WILLING MIND; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the INTENT OF THE THOUGHTS. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”
1 Chronicles 28:9 (NKJV)
• Do not be rigid with your plans.
- Have you inquired of God about that thing: the business proposal, the marriage proposal, Yes, the step you are about to take?
- If you want to inquire of God, you need to go before Him with an open heart and be ready in your mind to do whatever He tells you. If you go with a deceptive mind, resolved mind to do your will; you will get what you deserve.
• A Lady
Several years ago, when in Nigeria, a lady came to me asking for prayer, seeking to know whom to marry among the names of the people she brought. I told her, SUPPOSING no one among the names you brought is God’s will for your life.
She said she wanted to marry someone who is a professional footballer and based in the overseas, and those she brought their names were over there. I answered her, The person God has for you may be in Nigeria, while you are looking abroad. She said, It cannot be, the person she will marry must have residency in the overseas, and she left.
• Now, she had set up idols in her heart, and came to a minister asking for direction—for God’s advice.
- “I, the LORD, will answer all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject Me and set up idols in their hearts and so fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet ASKING FOR MY ADVICE.
- I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, eliminating them from among my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel 14:7,8 (NLT)
- God will not give you the right answers to your requests if you have IDOLS in your heart. He will rather put you aside.
- You may get some prophets who will tell you what you want to hear; but be sure, they are deceived prophets—they are not of GOD (1 Kings 22:13-25; 2 Timothy 4:3,4).
- “And if a prophet is DECEIVED into giving a message, it is because I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet. I will lift MY FIST AGAINST such prophets and cut them off from the community of Israel.
- FALSE PROPHETS and THOSE WHO SEEK their guidance will all be PUNISHED for their sins.”
Ezekiel 14:9,10 (NLT)
• God’s chastisements, punishments, await the false prophets and those who inquire of them, seek their guidance (Ezekiel 14:10).
- To avoid God’s chastisements; repents and turn away from your idols.
- God has the best for you if you can discard your idolized plans and embrace His plans for your life.
- The way of God may be slow, seemingly difficult, but it is the best.
- Following your ways lead to sorrows, disappointment, and frustrations (Proverbs 24:12).
- “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be SAVED.
- And for this reason GOD WILL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE THE LIE.”
2 Thessalonians 2:10,11(NKJV)
• You will not be a victim of evil in Jesus’ name.