S: Ezekiel 13:4-6 Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’ Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.’
Revelation 5:8-10 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”
O: Some leaders of Israel had come to see Ezekiel, but God revealed to him that in spite of their pious exterior, they had idols in their hearts. These are not explicit idols that are obvious to see like those who had altars to wood or stone idols, but they are just as dangerous because they also mean that one is serving something else rather than God.
On the other hand, if we truly worship God, as per the Revelation passage, our prayers are like gold bowls of incense before God. Christ has ransomed us by His blood and we are now a kingdom of priests for God from every people group.
A priest is someone who mediates between God and people, so as a kingdom of priests, we now represent God to people and also we can intercede for people before God.
A: We can fall into the trap of having idols in our hearts. So we must examine our motives -- what motivates us? Is it to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves? Or is it something else?
In an earlier meditation, I noted,
As middle-classed Chinese Malaysian Christians, sometimes we’re too “middle classed Chinese Malaysian” and not Christian enough. At a recent Chinese New Year gathering of Christians, during the Yee Sang they were doing the traditional blessing for the children, that they may do well in school and get good jobs, etc. when I chipped in, “And that they may be sold out for Jesus and become missionaries to Africa, etc.!” and people looked at me amazed.Whenever we put something above loving God and loving the people He has created, we have put an idol in our hearts.
If our children grow up to become successful business people or scholars, etc. but abandon the Lord, we have failed in our jobs as parents! But if they never go to university, but are totally sold out for Jesus, if they never earn much money but live a life that draws many to Him, if they become penniless missionaries in Nigeria or wherever, then they would really be successful in the eternal perspective!
Let's tear down those idols! Then we can be truly the kingdom of priests God has called us to be.
P: Father, I know I don't live up to this ideal. Time and time again, my motivations fall short, but thank You that repentance is possible! In Jesus' name, amen.