“Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts.
They have embraced things that lead them into sin.”
Ezekiel 14:3a NLT
Someone recently showed me a clip of a comedian talking about those booths/kiosks in the mall. I am still laughing about it in my head because I, like the comedian, have been a “victim” of these kiosks. I accidentally made eye contact with a vendor and all of a sudden I found myself stuck in a 30 minute free natural nail treatment. They convinced me I could have nails like Cleopatra every single day for just one purchase of $39.99. I didn’t even know anything about Cleopatra’s nails, but all of a sudden I had to have nails like her.
The kit still sits – untouched – in the bottom drawer of my bathroom 10 years later.
It was a set up. They saw me coming a mile away. My chipped off nail polish and my frazzled look gave them the green light to sell me an answer to all my problems: if I had nails like Cleopatra, I would become so put-together and confident I could surely conquer the world! They weren’t actually selling a natural nail care kit, they were selling the opportunity to be as beautiful as the legendary Cleopatra.
This was the first memory that came to my mind when I read the words “set up” in Ezekiel. God says these words over and over and over again. He uses them in relation to idols. In Ezekiel’s day, many of the people – leaders AND common people – had set up idols in their hearts. Of course the words are being used as a verb but the next sentence made me consider it as a noun. Check it out:
“Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that lead them into sin.“
“Setting up idols in their hearts” MEANS embracing things that lead into sin. It’s a set-up.
A natural nail care kit isn’t dangerous, but the pursuit of self-worth from any non-Jesus entity IS. The pursuit of a healthy body or washboard abs isn’t dangerous, but measuring my value in pounds and inches IS. Money isn’t dangerous, but the LOVE of it is. Idolatry – a fancy Bible word – simply means I allow “Cleopatra-selling-kiosks” to be set up in my heart for me to purchase from when I’m feeling ugly, frazzled and unconfident.
My Bible study notes give the perfect synopsis of why this ultimately matters in our lives today:
“For Hebrew writers, important functions of life were assigned to different physical organs. The heart was considered the core of a person’s intellect and spirit. Because all people have someone or something as the object of their heart’s 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.” (Life Application Study Bible)
Whether it be a New Year’s resolution, a new relationship, an old habit, or a pursuit of Cleopatra-like allure, if embracing it replaces God, it’s just A SET-UP!
Dear Lord, thank you for making such a powerful impact in our hearts with just a few words. You have filled our world with so many awesome things that sometimes it becomes easy to fall in love with the blessings rather than the Blesser. Please continue to teach us ways that we can put you first in our thoughts, words and actions every day. Amen.