Jerusalem was built behind walls for a reason. Enemies from Damascus, Assyria, Babylon, Media and Persia all, at different times took an opportunity to attack the long envied position and the much hated people.
Within the walls were gates for the obvious purpose of entry and exit for the city. Due to the geography of the region the north gate had become the primary gate over the years. Perhaps its importance was established because it was so well fortified. The enemies listed above all live to the east of Israel. The position of Israel made the north the only approach for these peoples whether they came in war or seeking commerce. To the east of Israel is the Arabian desert and to the west is the Mediterranean sea making the north the easiest approach.
As the culture developed in Jerusalem the gates began to be primary gathering places. It was at the gates that kings held audience, prophets proclaimed God’s word, merchants traded and legal matters were adjudicated. Because of the traffic moving through and around the north gate, it became a primary gathering place.
This is the state we find as we read the words of the prophet Ezekiel.
Then He said to me, “Son of man, raise your eyes, now, toward the north”. So I raised my eyes toward the north, and behold, to the north of the altar gate was this idol of jealousy at the entrance. And He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations which the house of Israel are committing here, that I should be far from My sanctuary? But yet, you will see greater abominations.” Ezekiel 8:5&6
There has never been a better time to look for the “idol of jealousy” and the life that it steals for the people of Jesus. We easily ignore this subtle god to our peril.
We walk into the department store and the “idol of jealousy” hovers above the door. We visit a friend and see the new wonderful flat screen TV or the new furniture; the “idol of jealousy” hovers. A neighbor or a friend drives up in his shiny new car; the “idol of jealously” rides “shotgun”.
Romans counsels us to Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12: 15
How far we, at times, stray from the concept of enjoying someone else’s joy. Worse, yet, it often seems more likely that we feel like weeping for ourselves when someone we know rejoices and feeling relieved that we are not the one’s weeping when a friend is weeping.
Yes, the “idol of jealousy” hovers invisibly in our society but its effects are not so invisible and never have been subtle.