Jan. 16, 2019

A Hole In the Wall

In current American culture, ‘a hole in the wall’ is a graphic term or phrase often used to describe a bar, restaurant or living space that is considered substandard. In the passage for discussion today, the phrase ‘a hole in the wall’ has a different connotation.

In Ezekiel 8 the prophet is taken on a spiritual excursion in which he sees an actual hole in the wall of the temple of God. Under average conditions a hole represents that there has been some sort of breach. A hole in a wall is not normal or desirable. The presence of a hole may indicate that some type of violence has occurred.  Maybe someone punched the hole or targeted the wall with a sledge hammer. The presence of a hole in a wall, at the very least, shows that there is structural damage.

In Ezekiel’s vision, he does not see how the hole was made or what made the hole. (Verse 7)

Ezekiel 8 King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me.

Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.

And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.

And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.

Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.

He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.

And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.

 

Reading further in the story, it seems likely that the Lord put the hole in the wall. The scene shows that there were idolatrous abominations taking place in the temple. If the wall had been intact, everything would have looked as if all was well. But there were spiritual and moral atrocities taking place behind the wall. Beyond the wall was a door. On the other side of the door people were practicing all kinds of wickedness that they thought were hidden.

Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.

And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.

11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.

 

If the wall of the temple had been whole, Ezekiel would not have been able to see in the natural what was taking place. To the casual observer, if there was no hole, it would have looked as if all was well. The people inside who were involved in idol worship and many forms of lewdness supposed that the Lord could not see them. (Verse 12)

It appears that God made the hole and instructed Ezekiel to investigate further to view, expose and speak against the unthinkable wickedness. The remainder of the chapter reveals more sinful behavior by those who should have been honoring the Lord with all of their hearts, all of their minds and all of their souls. The last verse of the chapter (verse 18) is God’s pronouncement of judgment against the offenders.

18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

The judgment announced here is four-fold:

  1. The Lord says He will deal with them in fury. He won’t be giving them a pat on the hand and a light sentence. He will deal with them harshly.
  2. He will not have mercy on them or show them any grace.
  3. He will not feel sorry for them or change His mind about the judgment levied against them.
  4. When they cry out in anguish and sorrow for deliverance, He will refuse to receive them. He will close His ears to their plight.

 

Ezekiel 8 is a sobering chapter. It is also a graphic warning of the grave importance of staying true to the God who made us. There is a reason why the first of the ten commandments is this:

Exodus 20:3-6

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

The Jewish leaders and people in Jerusalem in Ezekiel 8 were following their own sinful lusts and desires and calling it ‘worship’. God designed worship and He is the focus of worship. Anything that adds to what He dictates or removes what He has said is not worship. We are not to worship God AND cows or other images. He will not share His glory with another. He alone is worthy.

If the Lord shows you a hole in the wall in the place where you fellowship, get out of there. Go away from that place and ask God to lead you to a place where He alone is the center and only focus of worship. Don’t sit there and think that you will not be affected by the sin around you. God has places where people truly love Him and are yielded to His Spirit and Wisdom. He will direct you if you ask Him. Don’t allow family traditions or relationship loyalties cause you to miss the fullness that God has for you.

If you see a hole in the wall at your local fellowship, don’t just decide to go home and only worship at home. That is not God’s plan. We gain strength, edification, comfort and joy from fellowshipping with other believers.

Hebrews 10:22-27

22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.