Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.”
Tammuz was a god worshiped by pagans during Ezekiel’s day, usually by taking part in wild immorality. It was said that the stone statue of Tammuz wept; when that happened, the worshippers cried also because they were mourning the death of this god only to then rejoice when the god came back to life. What God is very angry about in this passage is the fact that Jewish women were sitting at the very door of His house worshiping this false idol Tammuz by weeping for it.
Idol worship is not limited to worshiping the image of a god. The Bible repeatedly condemns such as foolish. Read the scathing critique Isaiah gave of the ridiculousness of worshiping a wooden statue (Isaiah 44:9-20). Yet Webster also defines an idol as “any object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration,” as well as “a false notion or idea that causes errors in thinking or reasoning.”
When Israel worshiped that golden calf, the Bible says that they had forgotten the works of God and did not wait for His counsel (Psalm 106:13, 21). Friends, do we ever forget the works of God? Do we let other activities in life take precedence over worshiping God, studying His Word, praying to Him and being involved in His good works? Elsewhere in Ezekiel God rebuked elders for setting up an idol in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:1-5). Do we set up idols in our hearts? What “object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration” is in our hearts as a higher priority than God? Is it a family member, or even ourselves? Read Matthew 10:37. Is it whatever makes us happy? That seems to be a lot of people’s idol today: whatever makes them happy is most important. Yet God said that we were created for good works in order to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). In other words, we were created to serve Him first. JOY. Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.
What about that third definition of an idol from Webster? “A false notion or idea that causes errors in thinking or reasoning.” Not long ago I was talking to a group of preachers, all from different churches and denominations. They were very distressed at how it seems more and more churchgoers within the past couple of decades think the most important thing about going to church is being entertained. God talked about that to Ezekiel too, and it wasn’t good (Ezekiel 33:30-33). Personally, I find myself distressed over the apparent growing lack of interest in God’s Word in lots of churchgoers, and am even more distressed by the notion which many have that the Bible – God’s Word – supposedly doesn’t apply to us today as much as it did back when it was written. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 would have something to say about that, as would Hebrews 13:8. Jesus is still the same today as He was back then, and He will always be the same. His will for us will always be the same. Don’t let these false notions or ideas cause your thinking and reasoning about Christianity to be erroneous. Don’t let that idol into your heart.
We are commanded to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14; 5:11). God must come absolutely first in all things (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 6:33). In order for that to happen, we must examine ourselves first (2 Corinthians 13:5). We must compare our thoughts and deeds with God’s standard, the Bible, to see what needs to leave our lives. Read 2 Peter 1:5-11. Ask yourself if you are doing what this passage tells you to do. Fill your heart and mind with God’s Word (Psalm 119:11). Make it your goal to know your Bible like the back of your hand. You already do that with your favorite team’s batting averages. Do it with God’s Word. Make sacrifices to God, the spiritual sacrifices commanded of us (1 Peter 2:5) which consist basically of offering our entire lives in service to God (Romans 12:1). Always keep that goal of heaven in front of you as the most important thing (Philippians 3:13-14).
Get those idols out, and let God in.