The Judge Sees Idolatry - A Warning to Us

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on November 14, 2020

A sentence from Pastor Nate’s sermon text last weekend comes to mind as I read today’s lessons: “If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due” (Psalm 90:11).
Our Old Testament lesson (read Ezekiel 6-8 here) reveals the power of the LORD’s anger. Chapters 6 & 7 announce the coming judgment on Jerusalem. How frightening it must have been to live through the outpouring of the LORD’s wrath! The LORD used the Babylonians to kill and destroy. There was no stopping them. Warriors peed in their pants in terror (7:17) as the end came upon them. So it will be when the LORD comes in judgment at the end of the world. 
Why the judgment? In Ezekiel 8 the Judge sees what is done in the temple. He sees the idolatry that wells up within us—note especially in these chapters the references to wealth, silver and gold. What does the Judge see in the secret places of our hearts?
“If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due” (Psalm 90:11).
Jesus is teaching in the temple courts in our New Testament lesson (read John 8:37-59 here). He also revealed the secret sins of the Jewish leaders. “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires” (John 8:44). When the Son of God stepped into their lives to call them to repentance, they rejected him and wanted to stone him to death.
It is when we understand the power of the LORD’s anger that we appreciate the power of his love. Jesus promised: “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death” (John 8:51).
Let us search our own hearts that we might see the secret sins—secret to others but known to the LORD. Let us search our hearts and confess that we deserve the horrible judgment that came upon the people of Ezekiel’s day (the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by the Babylonians) and the horrible judgment that came upon the people who rejected Jesus (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans).
When we know the power of the LORD’s anger toward our sins, we celebrate the power of the LORD’s love. Like Abraham we rejoice that we have seen Jesus’ day (John 8:58). We have seen that the great I AM who revealed himself in the terrors of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 3) has come in powerful love to be our Savior. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”(John 3:17).

Prayer: Lord, we open our hearts to you. We confess our own idolatry. Come and cleanse us of these sins. Forgive us. Change us. Make us yours forever. Amen. 

Catching Up on Our Devotions

Here are the links if you want to catch up on devotions or our message series. 

  • Monday's Devotion
  • Wednesday's DevotionAnnette Navarre who organizes the Quilting Group just sent me this explanation of the quilt shown in this devotion: "You so beautifully described what we don't always see as the whole picture.  The blocks that made up the quilts were all made by our ladies who started submitting the blocks to me and I didn't give them any color restrictions.  They turned in so many blocks that I just started making piles of colors that coordinated.  I had no idea that I would have enough blocks to make five quilts!  Each block has it's own personality and are joined by a common color sashing strip, and keeping it aligned are small squares called "cornerstones".  Now doesn't that just describe the church?  I'm so pleased there were enough squares to make enough quilts for the Pastors and beyond.  Who knew?  Well, it wasn't me, but God turned it into a project of thanks and gratitude for the blessings of our church and faithfulness to His Word."  
  • Friday's Devotion
  • Nov 1 sermon
  • Nov 8 sermon

Holiday Worship Planning

  • Thanksgiving Services: Wednesday @ 6:30 pm, Thursday @ 8 & 10 am. The 6:30 service will be livestreamed and available for replay
  • Midweek Advent: We will not offer in-person Wednesday Advent services this year. Instead, we are producing four devotionals that you can use at home. One will be released each Monday of Advent. The devotions will be based on a filming of the Nativity story. Watch the trailer here. 
  • Christmas Services: We will be adding four services to provide more space for social distancing for all who wish to worship in person. 
    • Christmas Eve Candlelight: Wed Dec 23 @ 6:30 pm, Thur Dec 24 @ noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm & 10 pm. The 4 pm service will be live streamed to the Trinity Gym for overflow seating. 
    • Christmas Eve at The Bridge: Thurs Dec 24 @ 11:30 am and 1:30 pm
    • Christmas Day: Fri Dec 25 @ 8 & 10 am

The services will also be available for viewing on our YouTube channels.

Attached are this week's worship folder, Kids Club Family lesson, and the Bible reading pattern we are using this year.

God bless!

Pastor Pete



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