We can’t fake devotion to God. We might be able to fake it to the world and even to ourselves, but not to God. If there are idols in our hearts, we cannot expect to treat God as if there are not. When one cheats on her husband then goes home to be intimate with her spouse, she is a liar and an adulterer. She may fool her husband, but God will not be deceived. He knows our hearts. He sees what she does, even in the dark. We can’t turn to astrology, expanded consciousness, or other spiritual avenues and also turn to the LORD God. He is the One True Living God. He had some words for the people who practiced idolatry and yet still came to seek His advice. He would not allow them to consult Him as if He were a Zoltar Fortune Teller game or a Magic 8 Ball. Verses 6-8 read,
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7 For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. 8 And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
It isn’t good and happy news that these kind of idolaters receive. They will get what they asked for. The LORD will answer them personally. Not by giving in to inquiries, but by telling them who He is. He is a jealous God and He will not put up with idolatry.
It is not only the cheaters who must beware, it is the prophet to whom they turn. It can be tempting to give them the answers they seek or give them sugar-coated watered-down messages rather than “repent or be punished.” But the LORD doesn’t want or need His children to change His word. Verses 9-10 speak to the prophet who is deluded by the idolater.
“And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike”
To tell the idolater what she wants to hear is to lead her away from the truth instead of to the Lord. To let someone think that God approves of a melting pot of beliefs, where He holds the same weight as a charm bracelet is synonymous with teaching them to worship a god of their own making. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. He is the only way to the Father. Allowing people to think God is cool with any other path is letting them walk down that path toward Hell.
We can’t dilute His message. We can’t let people think live and let live is okay. To live and let live is not only to live and let die but leading people to death. Tell them the truth and let them make the choice without our or God’s stamp of approval. What is the truth? God loves them and wants them to know Him, the real Him, not the god they’ve created. Verse 11 says it like this.
“that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.”
A child will not stop behaving badly if she thinks her parents endorse her conduct. People will not stop sinning if they think the Lord sanctions it. It isn’t your job to make them feel good about themselves and their practices. It is your job to obey the LORD. It is your job to glorify Him and make disciples. God knows what He is doing. Some people need to suffer or struggle before they turn to God. Do not take that away from them. Verses 21-23 read,
“For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! 22 But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it. 23 They will console you, when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord God.”
Glorify the Lord. Do not compromise. Do not allow idolatry into your life. If someone comes to you seeking counsel from the Lord, listen to what the Lord tells you and speak only what He tells you. You are not a psychic and God is not a pack of tarot cards. To offer them the advice they ask for is to be deceived and to minimize the Lord to a crystal ball. Just because they ask God, doesn’t mean they worship Him alone. Just because they come to you doesn’t mean you should offer your wisdom. Let them repent or let them find their answers in their horoscope.