Treasures and Pleasures, Idols and Gods: There’s No Compromise In Deliverance and Release











Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the first thirty-two verses of the twentieth chapter. “And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me” (Ezekiel 20:1). This is how the twentieth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel begins—with a scenario that has played itself out on more than one occasion within this prophetic book. If you take the time to read and examine the prophetic book of Ezekiel, your ill certainly discover that within this book the elders of Israel entered into and found themselves in the company and presence of the prophet of the Most High God. When this chapter opens, it opens with certain of the elders of Israel coming unto Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord, and sitting before him in the process. As you come to the second verse, however, you will notice the word of the Lord coming unto the prophet Ezekiel—not only concerning the elders which sat before him, but also concerning the house of Israel. IN the second verse of this particular chapter we read of the word of the Lord coming unto Ezekiel, while in the third verse we begin to discover and uncover that which the Lord desired to speak unto the elders which sat before the prophet. In the third verse of this chapter we read—“Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be in quire of by you” (Ezekiel 20:3). There are those who would read these words and ask why the Lord would speak and utter such words. There are those who would read these words and ask how the Lord could declared to the elders of His people that He will not be inquired of by them. I am absolutely certain there are a number of men and women who would have a difficult time with these words—especially when considering the words which the Lord spoke unto the prophet Jeremiah, which are recorded In the twenty-ninth chapter of the book. “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:12-14). Only a few chapters later we read these words spoken through and by the prophet Jeremiah unto the house of Israel—“Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is His name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:2-3).

 I WILL BE FOUND OF YOU! I WILL ANSWER YOU! I WILL SHOW YOU GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS! These are some pretty lofty and incredible promises spoken by the Lord unto the house of Israel through His servant, the prophet Jeremiah. If such words were indeed spoken by the Lord of hosts through the prophet Jeremiah, why through the prophet Ezekiel would the Lord declare unto the elders of Israel, and even concerning the house of Israel that He would not be inquired of by them? In order to gain a true and proper understanding of this reality, it’s necessary to direct our attention to the first chapter of another prophetic book found within the Old Testament—the prophetic book of Israel. In the first chapter of the prophetic book of Israel we find a very specific declaration from the Lord of hosts unto the house of Israel through His servant Isaiah. Beginning with the eleventh verse of the first chapter we find these words written and recorded by the prophet Isaiah: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye m are many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:11-15). When you come to the Old Testament prophetic book of Amos, you will find a similar reality stated and declared by the prophet Amos unto the house of Israel—“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have born the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith he Lord, whose name is The God of hosts” (Amos 5:21-27). In the sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Micah we find these words—“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-9).

 While there may seem to be an apparent contradiction within Scripture—especially when considering the words spoken by the prophet Jeremiah in light of the words spoken by the prophets Amis, Isaiah and Micah—I would strongly contend that there is no such contradiction within Scripture. I recognize there might be those who would read the words of the prophet Isaiah—as well as words which were spoken by various other writers of Scripture—and would conclude that the contradiction lies in the fact that the Lord declared through one prophet that He would be found of, would answer, and would show great and mighty things to those who called upon Him. How can the Lord of hosts in one breath seemingly declare unto His people that He would be found of them, He would answer them, and that He would show them great and mighty things, and yet in another breath seem to declare that He would not be inquired of by them? If you read the twentieth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will quickly discover that the entire chapter reveals the underlying reason why the Lord would not be inquired of by the house of Israel, nor by the elders which came and sat before the prophet Ezekiel. Before even addressing and moving on to that particular reality, we must first direct our attention to another passage of Scripture found within the Old Testament. This particular passage of Scripture is found in the seventh chapter of the book of Second Chronicles and deals specifically with the dedication of the Temple which Solomon oversaw the construction of within the city of Jerusalem. When you come to the eleventh verse of the seventh chapter you will uncover the Lord’s response to Solomon’s prayer before and unto the Lord upon and at the dedication of the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. That very same night within the very same day Solomon uttered his prayer before the Lord, the Lord responded with a tremendous word of encouragement, as well as a powerful word of warning. We must first begin with the word of encouragement and hope which the Lord spoke unto the Solomon by night—“I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there fore ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel” (2 Chronicles 7:12-18).

 The Lord with and through these words revealed something incredible and remarkable unto Solomon as king over the nation of Israel. The Lord declared unto Solomon—not only concerning the throne of David which was present within Jerusalem, not only concerning the house of David, but the Lord also spoke concerning His ears being attentive unto the prayers which were offered in that place, and His eyes would be open over and concerning all that was done within the Temple which Solomon had built for and unto the Lord. What we must recognize when reading these words, however, is that the words which the Lord spoke were indeed words of encouragement and hope, but they were also words which demanded and required obedience and faithfulness before the Lord. The Lord emphatically declared that He had chosen and sanctified the house which was built within the city of Jerusalem, and that His name might be there forever. The Lord declared of this house that His eyes and His heart would be there perpetually and would not turn away. Immediately after this, the Lord begins to reveal to Solomon the reality that would make all of this possible—“And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I had commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments” (2 Chronicles 7:17). Moreover, in the fourteenth verse of this chapter the Lord speaks of His people, which are called by His name, humbling themselves, praying, seeking His face, and turning from their wicked ways, and how all of these elements combined would directly and immediately result in the Lord’s hearing from heaven, the Lord’s forgiveness of their sin, and the healing of their land. Humility, prayer, seeking the face of God, and a turning from wicked ways would guarantee and ensure hearing from heaven, healing for the land, and forgiveness of sins. What we must recognize, however, is that this verse cannot be broken apart, and one part of it separated from the other part. We cannot separate humility, prayer, seeking the face of God, and turning away from one’s wicked ways from the Lord’s response in hearing from heaven, forgiving sins, and healing the land. In all reality, that which the Lord demanded and required—not only of Solomon and each and every other king who would sit upon the throne of David in Jerusalem, but also of the entire nation and kingdom of. Israel—was walking before Him, doing according to all that He commanded, observing all His statutes, as well as His judgments. Essentially what the Lord demanded and required was obedience before Him as His people deliberately, intentionally, and willfully walked in His statutes and commands. The eyes of the Lord, as well as His ears were and would be directly connected to the obedience, the faithfulness and the righteousness—not only of the children of Israel themselves, but also of the kings who would sit upon the throne over the heritage of the Lord within the earth.

 If you continue reading this particular chapter, you will come to the nineteenth verse of the chapter, and you will notice a dramatic shift from the word of encouragement, hope and promise, to a word of warning. Consider if you will the words which the Lord spoke unto Solomon that very same night—the very same night He promised His attention and affection if His people and their king(s) walked in obedience before Him. “But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes, and my commandments, which I have set up before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots. Out of my land which I have then; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and byword among all nations. And this house, which is height, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their father, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them” (2 Chronicles 7:19-22). Please pay close attention to these words, for these words provide a powerful word of warning to Solomon concerning the deliberate and willful turning away from and forsaking of the Lord of hosts. What makes these words even more powerful and captivating is when you consider a passage that is found in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings. Ironically enough, this particular chapter describes Solomon in a light which many who aren’t fully acclimated and accustomed to Scripture are aware of. There are many who when thinking about Solomon think about him as the son of David, and perhaps even as the son of Bathsheba, who was formerly the wife of Uriah. There are many who when thinking about Solomon think of him as the one who built the Temple of the Lord within the city of Jerusalem, and for the tremendous wisdom which the Lord gave him when He appeared unto him in a dream. What most, however, don’t understand, and perhaps aren’t aware of concerning Solomon is what is found and recorded in the eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings. Solomon—the same one who heard the Lord speak of walking in His statutes and walking in obedience and faithfulness unto him—is presently in a completely different light that most aren’t even aware of. Beginning with the first verse of this chapter we find these words written and recorded concerning Solomon, son of David, and king of Israel—“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon calve unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination to he Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8).

 The words we read in the twentieth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel describe certain individuals who came unto the prophet Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord, and yet the Lord declared unto them that He would not be inquired of by them. In the fourth verse of this chapter you begin to discover a picture of disobedience, rebellion, transgression and wickedness before the Lord of hosts. The Lord asks the prophet Ezekiel if he would judge the elders which sat before him and cause them to know the abominations of their fathers. The Lord instructed the prophet Ezekiel to make known unto the elders which sat before him the abominations which their fathers committed—abominations which they committed from the time and days when they were slaves in the land of Egypt, and even when they emerged from their bondage and oppression in Egypt. “IN the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and mad myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God; in the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a LAN that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:4-7). Pay close attention to these words, for with these words the Lord revealed unto the prophet something which must be carefully considered by everyone who seeks to follow after and serve the Lord. Within these few verses the Lord not only speaks of deliverance from slavery and bondage, but the Lord also speaks of inheritance as well. Notice in the sixth verse the Lord speaks of lifting up His hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt, and not only lifting up His hand unto them to bring them forth of the land of Egypt, but to also bring them into a land which He Himself had personally scouted for their benefit. What we must recognize and realize concerning the words which the Lord spoke unto the prophet Ezekiel is that deliverance demands obedience, and inheritance demands obedience. If you continue reading this passage you will discover the Lord speaking unto Ezekiel and revealing unto Him that in that day which He lifted up His hand to bring His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, He gave them a very specific command which there was absolutely no room for negotiation and compromise. IN the seventh verse of this chapter we uncover the Lord speaking unto the prophet Ezekiel concerning His speaking to the children of Israel and calling them to cast away from themselves the abominations of their eyes, and to defile themselves not with the idols of Egypt. If the Lord was going to deliver the children of Israel from their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, He wanted to also deliver them from the idols of Egypt, and the abominations which were before their eyes.

 THERE WAS MORE INVOLVED IN THE DELIVERANCE FROM THE LAND OF EGYTP! While it is not spoken of, or even alluded to in the Old Testament book of Exodus, the prophet Ezekiel brings us face to face with the fact that while the children of Israel lived and dwelt within the land of Egypt, they bowed down and worshipped the idols of Egypt. This particular passage speaks of the children of Israel as polluting and defiling themselves within the land of Egypt with the idols and gods which the Egyptians worship. THE LORD DIDN’T WANT TO DELIVER A PEOPLE WHO WERE WILLING TO COMPROMISE! THE LORD WASN’T GOING TO DELIVER A PEOPLE AND THEIR IDOLS! THE LORD WASN’T GOING TO DELIVER A PEOPLE AND THE GODS THEY WORSHIPPED! LEAVE YOUR IDOLS BEHIND! LEAVE YOUR GODS BEHIND! As I’m sitting here right now, I can’t help but wonder if one of—if not—the main reasons why men and women don’t experience true deliverance is because they are unwilling to let go of, and are unwilling to forsake the idols and gods which they worshipped while still living within the land of Egypt. The Lord had absolutely no desire to deliver the children of Israel from their slavery and bondage, and at the very same time allow them to bring with them the idols and gods which they bowed down before and worshipped. The Lord had promised to deliver them, but directly connected and associated with their deliverance from slavery and bondage was a deliverance that we oftentimes don’t even speak of—much less acknowledge. When we think of the deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, we tend to think of that deliverance as being merely from bondage, slavery and oppression. The truth of the matter is that their deliverance from the land of Egypt was about so much more than simply deliverance from that which brought about oppression within their lives. The deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt was indeed about rescuing and redeeming them from a physical and natural bondage, but there was an even deeper bondage the Lord was delivering and rescuing them from. In fact, if you journey to the eleventh chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews you will come to a particular description of Moses—the individual who was chosen to lead the people of God out of their slavery and oppression. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).

 REFUSED TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER! CHOOSING TO SUFFER AFFLICTION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD! CHOOSING NOT TO ENJOY THE PLEASURES OF SIN FOR A SEAONS! ESTEEMING THE REPROACH OF CHRIST GREATER RICHES THAN THE TREASURES OF EGYPT! HAVING RESPECT UNTO THE RECOMPENSE OF THE REWARD! FORSOOK EGYPT! DID NOT FEAR THE WRATH OF THE KING! ENDURED! SEEING THE INVISIBLE! That which we read in this particular passage of Scripture is utterly and completely amazing, for within this particular passage of Scripture we discover that there was so much more to the land of Egypt that just a physical bondage and slavery. When you read these words found in the New Testament book of Hebrews, you discover that Moses chose to suffer affliction rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin, and he chose to esteem the reproach of Christ of greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. TREASURES AND PLEASURES! As you read this particular set of verses, you will discover that Egypt was not simply about a physical and natural slavery and bondage, but you will also notice that within Egypt were treasures and pleasures—both of which were enticing and appealing unto those who allowed themselves to be caught up and consumed with them. When the Lord delivered the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, He delivered them from and out of more than just a natural bondage and slavery, but also from the treasures and pleasures which were contained and found therein. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke in His famous Sermon On the Mount, for within that sermon He speaks to and addresses this particular reality. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do. Not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). With these words the Lord addressed something which each and every one of us faces and experiences so long as we live and move upon the face of this earth—the laying up for ourselves treasures upon the earth. There is a specific and powerful call that is being issued in this generation during these Last Days, and it is a call to fully and completely forsake and abandon the treasures and pleasures contained within the land of Egypt. Moses was spoken of in the great “hall of faith” chapter because he chose to forsake the treasures and pleasures of Egypt, and to instead endure the reproach of Christ, as well as the afflictions of the people of God. FORSAKING THE TREASURES OF EGYPT FOR THE REPROACH OF CHRIST! ABANDONING THE PLEASURES OF EGYPT FOR THE AFFLICTION OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD!

 Please don’t miss the significance and importance of these words, for with these words we understand that Egypt was about more than simply a physical slavery, a physical bondage, and a physical oppression. The land of Egypt for the children of Israel represented both treasures and pleasures, which were meant to entice and allure them away from serving and following the Lord their God. One of the main questions I can’t help but wonder is how many men and women within the land of Egypt spoke of the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. How many men and women gathered around a fire within their home telling stories of the patriarchs of Israel, and how the Lord moved and operated within their lives? How many men and women gathered others around them in order to tell of a God that could very well have been forgotten and forsaken within the land of Egypt. One of the greatest realities that I can’t help but consider—both concerning the slavery of Egypt, as well as the captivity of Babylon—is that both were designed to cause the people of God to forsake the living God, and to forget about Him altogether. Through the prophet Ezekiel we read of the idols which were found within the land of Egypt, and in the prophetic book of Daniel we read of the great golden image Nebuchadnezzar built within the plain of Dura, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego’s firm conviction and stance—not only to refuse to bow down and worship the golden image which had been set up in the plain, but to also refuse to worship the idols and gods within the land of Babylon. TREASURES AND PLEASURES! IDOLS AND GODS! I am convinced that one of the main reasons why Babylon and Egypt are so incredibly dangerous is because within both is the intention and attempt to cause the people of God to forget about the true and living God. It is important for us to remember and understand that the adversary can and will first cause us to forget about the true and living God, and then from that place of forgetfulness, the adversary can then bring us into the place where we forsake the living God altogether. FORSAKING IS A DIRECT RESULT OF FORGETTING! Those who have forgotten the Lord their God may very well find themselves perfectly positioned to forsake Him altogether, as they begin to allow themselves to bow down before and worship the idols and gods of Egypt and Babylon. What we read in the prophetic book of Ezekiel is absolutely remarkable, for the Lord speaks to the prophet concerning the call to abandon and forsake the idols and gods of Egypt. Deliverance demands a full and complete forsaking of the idols and gods we worshipped while in Egypt, and release demands the same type of reality to be manifested within our lives.

When the Lord brings us forth from the land of Egypt, He fully expects and demands from us that we leave all our idols, all our images, all our Gods behind us. When the Lord brings us forth from the land of Babylon, He fully demands and expects us to to leave behind us all the idols, all the images, all the gods we may have worshipped while still there. There is absolutely no room or place for the idols, images and gods of Egypt within the inheritance, and there is absolutely no room for the idols, images and gods of Babylon within the inheritance. The ultimate and underlying question is whether or not we are willing to completely, utterly, totally and completely abandon and forsake—not only the treasures and pleasures of Egypt, but also the idols, the images and the gods as well. The same reality we find within the land of Egypt is repeated within the land of Babylon, which is why the Lord through His holy servants the prophets called for his people to get themselves up out of and get themselves up from the land of Babylon. The Lord was very specific in His command and instruction to rise up and to flee from the midst of Babylon in order that the people of God might not be caught up and swept away in their iniquity and judgment. When bringing the people out of the slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt, the Lord instructed them to make themselves ready and to prepare themselves for that moment when He would bring them forth from the midst of the land. When it came to their release from the land of Babylon, there was no call or command issued to ready and prepare themselves for their release, but a full and complete command to rise up, to get themselves out of, and to flee from the midst of Babylon. What’s so interesting is that the Lord judged both Egypt and Babylon while His people were still present within them. The Lord brought ten plagues upon the land of Egypt while the children of Israel were still enslaved and oppressed in the midst of it, and the Lord brought Darius the Mede and the full force of the Medo-Persian empire upon Babylon to completely overthrow and cast it down. There is the salvation of the Lord seen, witnessed and experienced in the judgment of both Egypt and Babylon, as the Lord not only sought to destroy captivity and slavery, but also treasures and pleasures, and idols and gods. Oh that we would fully recognize and pay attention to this fact, and would diligently strive to get ourselves up from the midst of Babylon, to get ourselves up from the midst of Egypt, and to forsake both treasures and pleasures, as well as idols and gods.

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