Ezekiel 8 and Psalm 46-47

Ezekiel 8 begins a vision that extends through chapter 11. He see four instances of idolatry:

  1. Ezek. 8:3-6 he sees the idol that provokes God to jealousy. The king is complicit and rather than lead the people in faithfulness, he leads them in compromise.
  2. Ezek. 8:7-13 he sees the seventy elders unclean creatures.
  3. Ezek. 8:14-15 he sees women engaged with a fertility cult.
  4. Ezek. 8:16 he sees the priests with their backs to the temple worshiping the sun.

D. A. Carson responds to these events:

Modern forms of idolatry are different, of course. Most of us have not been caught mourning for Tammuz. But do our hearts pursue things that rightly make God jealous? Do we love dirty and forbidden things? Do we ascribe success to everything but God? We may not succumb to fertility cults, but doesn’t our culture make sex itself a god? 1

Psalm 46 opens with,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear …

It is reason enough that God is a place of safety and security. When we run to Him, we do not need to fear. Allen P. Ross writes,

The psalmist declared that God is the Refuge (mahseh, “shelter from danger”; cf. comments on 14:6) and Strength (cf. comments on 18:1) of believers. In other words they find safety and courage by trusting in Him, who is always present to help them (see comments on 30:10) in their troubles. So the saints need not fear, even if many perils come against them. The language is hyperbolic, to describe how great the perils may be that could come. No matter what happens, those trusting in Him are safe. 2

Ps. 46:7 again speaks of God as a “fortress”. It is repeated in Ps. 46:11. When the world experiences the wrath of God, believers are safe inside the might fortress of God. This is the same place of protection that Martin Luther penned about in his hymn, A Might Fortress is Our God,

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal. 3

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

2 Allen P. Ross, “Psalms,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 828.

3 Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (No. 75) in The Brethren Hymnal (Elgin, IL: House of the Church of the Brethren, 1951).

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