The Danger of Idolatry (Ezekiel 23:32–33) - Radical

The Danger of Idolatry (Ezekiel 23:32–33)

“For thus says the Lord God, “You shall drink your sister’s cup that is deep and large. You shall be laughed at and held in derision, for contains much. You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, a cup of horror and desolation. The cup of your sister Samaria.”
– Ezekiel 23:32–33

These verses come in the middle or close to the end of a horrifying chapter. I don’t know how else to describe Ezekiel 23. It is such a horrifying picture of physical and spiritual adultery. God basically using the image of adultery to talk about his people’s idolatry, how they have turned aside from him and his love for them and his provision in their lives and they’ve run after other gods and idols to satisfy them, to their ruin. And it’s a clear picture, a reminder to every one of us to keep in mind at every moment, no one, nothing satisfies like God, that when we turn to the idols of this world, we will always end up unsatisfied. Always, always, always.

Ezekiel 23:32–33 Teaches Us About the Cup of Wrath

The reason I read these two verses in particular is because of this reference to the cup, you shall drink your sister’s cup. It’s a cup of horror and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria, and basically the imagery is a cup of judgment and sorrow and destruction.

It’s really a cup of wrath and condemnation and just picture all the consequences of sin as you drink this cup and this is the imagery that the Bible uses all throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament to describe God’s judgment, God’s just and holy wrath due sin, and so when Jesus prepares to go to the cross and he’s in the garden, what does he pray? Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but you will, and Jesus goes to the cross and willingly drinks the cup of judgment and holy wrath due sin. He drinks the cup that you and I deserve to drink.

Ezekiel 23:32–33 Praises the Name of Jesus

And so we pray. Lord Jesus, all glory and honor and praise be to your name. We deserve to drink the cup of judgment and holy wrath for sin forever, and you have gone to the cross on our behalf, on behalf of all who have put their trust in you and you have drank that cup in our place so that we don’t have to endure it. All glory be to your name. Thank you Jesus for dying on a cross for our sin. For taking the judgment, enduring the wrath that we deserve so that we right now might have fellowship with God. So we might know you and have eternal life in you. All glory be to your name.

We confess, we have committed spiritual idolatry, adultery. We have run after idols, things in this world, instead of you. God, forgive us, and we praise you, Jesus, for making this forgiveness possible and so we say help us today to love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength that everything we are and everything we have, keep us from adultery, spiritual adultery. Keep us from spiritual adultery. Keep us from idolatry in any way.

Pray for the Unreached People of the Adamawa Fulani in Nigeria

And God, we pray for people all around the world who are worshiping different idols. We pray for the Adamawa Fulani today in Nigeria. 1.6 million people worshiping a combination of Muslim and animistic religions, gods, spirits, idols. Jesus, you alone are worthy of their glory. We pray that the Adamawa Fulani people of Nigeria would be reached with the good news of your love in Jesus, the good news that Jesus has taken the judgment we deserve upon himself so that they can be saved.

God, we pray for your salvation to be made known among the Adamawa Fulani of Nigeria and all the nations, that all the nations might know that you alone are God. That Jesus, you alone are savior, that salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. We pray all of this in light of your word in Ezekiel 23:32–33. In Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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