Ezekiel 8:17,18 And He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them." NKJV
This time of year, this time of leaf changing, this time of chemical release from dying vegetation, always leaves me allergically congested. Subsequently, my nose runs a little, just a little and my sinus’s slowly drain down the back of my throat, trickling tickly-ness into an annoying cough and a constant clearing of the throat. It is annoying and all the throat-clearing makes it sound like I am about to say something very, very important! However all I say is “Excuse me,” to those living on the edge of such expectorant expectancy, which as we all know, can be so very tiring.
Our text for tonight, is about to say something very important, but the exact meaning of that little phrase, ‘put the branch to their nose’ is widely misunderstood amongst the Biblical commentators. In any event friends, whatever it means is an irrelevance really, for the focus of the text is not so much on the heinous practice itself, but rather the response from God to it. Whatever this nasal insult was, it became such a grievous and gross insult, such a putrid and offensive stench to His bitter and outraged heart that it perniciously provoked Him to both an astonishing and outraged anger! Yup, this secret sinning, this ‘putting the branch to the nose,’ this indulgence in idolatrous and outrageous obscenity, caused such a ‘Divine Nasal Drip’ that God coughed Himself to such a fuming fury that He phlegmed out Isreal from His Holy and congested lungs!
Make no mistake about it, the outcome of such coughing fury did result in dire and dreadful decimation, dissolution and desolation of Israel. Indeed, if God Himself had not chosen to save Himself a remnant of those who both sighed and cried at the loathsome state that their nation had gotten itself into, then the apple of God’s eye would surely have lain forever rotting upon the sodden soil.
Tonight I have to tell you that I have seen the secret sins of His leaders and His so-called prophets of today. I have seen the secret sins of God’s people today. I have seen the present indifference of God in their lives, in our lives, in the life of the church at large; it is so bad that it leads me to conclude that God is not watching, indeed that even maybe, there is no God!
If I have seen the secret sin, then make no mistake GOD HAS SEEN IT TOO!
Look! God sees! Look at the land! See the famine, see the disease of man and beast, see the fear, see the war, see the tear. Hear the vines now long since dead, crackle in the fire. Hear the other nations and the foreign cultures, now at home within us, suck the marrow from the dry bones left, see the violation of His law look at the rape of His love, be astonished at the idols now moved from the secret chambers of the heart and paraded high on haughty shoulders! Look! God sees! Look at the land!
I tell you tonight that whatever you, or your nation has put to your nose in the very face of the Lord Christ, shall cause such a fit of righteous coughing, that the very lungs you breathe with shall fill your gasping mouth with death.
Unless the idols are dealt with, the earth in all its fullness and God in all His fury shall turn against us completely.
Listen: - "'Therefore, whore, listen to God's Message: I, God, the Master, say, Because you've been unrestrained in your promiscuity, stripped down for every lover, flaunting your sex, and because of your pornographic idols and all the slaughtered children you offered to them, therefore, because of all this, I'm going to get all your lovers together, all those you've used for your own pleasure, the ones you loved and the ones you loathed. I'll assemble them as a courtroom of spectators around you. In broad daylight I'll strip you naked before them — they'll see what you really look like. Then I'll sentence you to the punishment for an adulterous woman and a murderous woman. I'll give you a taste of my wrath! "'I'll gather all your lovers around you and turn you over to them. They'll tear down your bold brothels and sex shrines. They'll rip off your clothes, take your jewels, and leave you naked and exposed. Then they'll call for a mass meeting. The mob will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They'll burn down your houses. A massive judgment — with all the women watching! "'I'll have put a full stop to your whoring life — no more paying lovers to come to your bed! By then my anger will be played out. My jealousy will subside. "'Because you didn't remember what happened when you were young but made me angry with all this behavior, I'll make you pay for your waywardness. Didn't you just exponentially compound your outrageous obscenities with all your sluttish ways? Ezekiel 16:35-43 from THE MESSAGE
Pray: -Lord tonight we remember our sins. We beg forgiveness for the sins of our nation, its people and its leaders. We ask for mercy regarding the secret sins of Your church in both its leaders and its people. We ask for forgiveness and cleansing for our secret sins, our bad love idols, our kept grievances, festering angers, and unforgiving hearts. Oh, Lord tonight we cast down our idols. Have mercy upon us and restore us we pray, in the mighty name of Jesus, amen.