Today’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 20 and Hebrews 10.
“On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God.’ On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands.” (Ezek 20:5-6)
God wanted what was best for Israel in every sense of the word. He chose them. He made himself known to them, entering into a covenant with them as I AM WHO I AM. He liberated them from slavery and provided the most glorious of all lands.
“And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.'” (Ezek 20:7)
Take a moment to think about your Creator’s description of idols in that verse–“detestable things your eyes feast on”–tempting things, alluring things, enticing things that provide quick hits of gratification for our eyes … and defile our hearts.
Israel missed out on the best because they allowed their eyes to feast on what ultimately left their hearts empty.
“I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live…that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.” (Ezek 20:11-13)
And thousands of years later, we continue to find ourselves at essentially the same crossroads. All day, every day, our eyes are invited to feast on the pixelated delicacies abundantly supplied by the idols of money, sex, power, success, and leisure. A near-infinite supply of attention-sucking appetizers is constantly available at our fingertips and as long as we are willing to scroll, click, or sit through another recommended video, the opportunities to feast our eyes will continue.
It has never been easier to live with full eyes and empty hearts.
But our Creator still wants what is best for us in every sense of the word. He desires authentic relationship with us. He is willing and able to liberate us, transform and mature us, use us for good, and provide the most glorious of all inheritances.
“I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live…”
Tucked in Ezekiel 20 is a reminder I needed from the start of this new week. Guard your heart. Make a covenant with your eyes. Evaluate the source and substance of your affections. Think about the best use of your time. It’s going to take deliberate effort and God-shaped focus to look past the easy feasts and empty cultural calories that will waste so much of your energy and leave your heart empty by the end of the week. But if you will delight yourself in the LORD, meditate on his precepts, and walk in his statutes, your heart will be full.
And you will live.