Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.'”Ezekiel 8:12 ESV
I know this vision that God showed Ezekiel is much more complicated and detailed than what I am focusing on this morning, but this passage stuck out to me and started me thinking about my thought life and how I treat my mind. There are three phrases that I want to explore: in the dark, room of pictures, and the Lord does not see.
First, the elders are in the dark. Jesus has called me to be in the light of his presence. That I am to let my light shine before all men and reveal the actions of godliness to a watching world. But oftentimes I find myself in the dark away from the light of the gospel. I find myself in the dark because I like the fleeting pleasure of sin and so I seek out the darkness to satisfy my flesh and embrace the sin. I remove myself from the light and presence of Christ (so I think) and embrace the isolation and hiddenness of the dark. I think that because I am in the dark that I am isolated and free from the sight of others and God. That my sin is my sin and it only ever will affect me and no others.
Second, in the dark I am in my own room of pictures. This seems to represent the heart and mind of each of the elders. For in this room there are engravings on the wall depicting their idols of worship. This is true of myself as well. I have this room in my heart that I access with my mind. This so called hidden room in the darkness that I believe is secret. In this room I keep those thoughts of sin that I am not willing to give over to the Lord. Those areas of my heart that keep my secrets hidden. Secrets I want hidden from the people around me, hidden from God, and ultimately hidden from myself. I want this room in the dark for my own pleasure outside of God. Outside of goodness. Self-centered shameful lusts that I want hidden because I know they are wrong.
Third, I convince myself that this room is indeed secret from everyone, including God himself. But this is a pathetic lie that I convince myself is true. God knows everything about my heart, mind and soul. He knows me intimately. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows that in the darkness of this hidden room I have idols and sin that I don’t even realize are there and at work. I want to believe that this room in my heart is mine alone and that I can keep it and be unaffected in my spiritual life. But in the dark, I don’t see the rot and decay spreading throughout my whole heart. I don’t see the poison infiltrating every inch of my heart and mind.
This is the battle that needs to be fought each and every day. I need to ask myself every moment how I can open the door to this room and let the light of Christ shine within. Illuminating every corner of the room. I need to see the idols of sin and shame that I store in this room and repent. Repent and remove then. Exposing them to the light of the gospel and filling this room with the fruit of the Spirit. I cannot be afraid to deal with my hidden secret sin. Christ has called me to be vigilant with the sin in my heart. Christ took the penalty for all my sin on the cross. I have true freedom in him. There is no need to hide in the darkness. For it is in the light that I have all the pleasure and joy to be found in Christ alone.
Journal Entry // October 07, 2021