Reading through the prophets can be challenging but a pencil can be a great help! As you read, interact with the passage by underlining key phrases/ideas, noting questions, circling repeated words, … anything that “jumps out at you.” Then when you are finished, go back over the notes you made and think about what God is saying. One more thing, at the end, write down what you learned and are going to do in response. All of these things are ways of reading actively – and the only way to find out the difference that makes is to try it!
In today’s reading, God gives Ezekiel a very graphic picture of Judah’s rebellion – Judah and Israel are pictured as adulterous sisters who turn from God like prostitutes until it destroys them.
“Oholah (Samaria, the capital of Israel) engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians —warriors clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after. (Ezekiel 23:5-7)
We have read before about Israel’s idolatry but here God highlights their desire to be aligned with powerful nations like Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. Perhaps at the root of their tendency to find substitutes for God (i.e. idols) was a fascination with the power and wealth of the surrounding nations.
What about for us? The same warning is given in the New Testament:
Do not love the world [i.e. the systems and standards of a society that ignores God] or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
So then … what impresses you? What do you love?