Becoming a disciple: knowing God as holy

Scripture – Ezekiel 8:14

Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.

Observation

tam’-uz, tam’-mooz (tammuz; Thammouz):

He was originally a Babylonian sun-god, called Dumuzu, the husband of Ishtar, who corresponds to Aphrodite of the Greeks. The Babylonian myth represents Dumuzu, or Tammuz, as a beautiful shepherd slain by a wild boar, the symbol of winter. Ishtar long mourned for him and descended into the underworld to deliver him from the embrace of death. This mourning for Tammuz was celebrated in Babylonia by women on the 2nd day of the 4th month. This custom of weeping for Tammuz is referred to in the Bible in the only passage where the name occurs (Ezekiel 8:14). The chief seat of the cult in Syria was Gebal in Phoenicia, to the South of which the river Adonis has its mouth, and its source is the magnificent fountain of Apheca, where was the celebrated temple of Venus or Aphrodite, the ruins of which still exist. The women of Gebal used to repair to this temple in midsummer to celebrate the death of Tammuz, and there arose in connection with this celebration those licentious rites which rendered the cult so infamous that it was suppressed by Constantine the Great.

Ezekiel had been transported in the Spirit to Jerusalem to be shown how wicked the people had become. The detestable customs of the babylonians had traveled to Jerusalem and the women of Judah were even celebrating this foreign idol at the north gate of the house of the Lord!

Application

What foreign and detestable things are we bringing into the presence of the Lord? The whole book of Ezekiel is wrapped around the core theme of Ezekiel 38:23 “I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel.”

What do I out above the holiness of God? What have I absorbed from the culture around me that I unknowingly have brought into the presence of God?

Prayer

Father, you are holy. You will not let you holy name be profaned. Please reveal to me any way I am acting like these women of Judah who mourned for Tammuz at your temple gate. Show me my errant ways. I need your discipline and your love. Please keep my hands clean and my heart pure. I pray the nations would know you are the Holy One, not just in Israel but in the whole earth. Thank you for calling me to your side and to follow you. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.

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