Unholy Oholah!

The prophecies of Ezekiel in the Old Testament are filled with graphic illustrations describing the idolatry and godlessness of the nation of Israel just prior to their demise and exile in the sixth century BC.

In chapter 23, God speaks through Ezekiel and paints Samaria and Israel as two whoring sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, who lust after men of military might rather than their own faithful husband.


Verses 5-6: Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses…

The immediate parallel is clear: God’s people have turned away from him looking to fulfill their “needs” elsewhere. When confronted with national danger, rather than look to the Lord, they sought help from surrounding nations for protection, something God had clearly forbidden.

What is less clear in this picture is the application for God’s people today. In fact, I found myself asking, “Lord, how does this apply to me? I don’t run after other nations or even other religions. What’s the application?”

And that same day I found myself with a problem to be solved. I wondered about it. I worried about it. I had conversations with another person in my head, over and over. I tried to figure out who I should talk to to get advice.

And then it hit me.

I was doing the same thing as Oholah.

It wasn’t other nations, but it was others. I was faced with a problem, and I was looking in the wrong places for the solution. When I should have been crying out to God for guidance and peace, I was trying to figure it out on my own or find someone else who could give me just the right advice.

Idolatry and alienation from God can be subtle. It’s easy to spot it in prophetic illustrations in scripture. It’s even fairly easy to spot it in others. But in ourselves? Notsomuch.

Some people call this “practical atheism” when we say that we believe that God created the universe and is ultimately powerful, only to look elsewhere for help in the details in life.

What are you facing today that has you seeking a solution? What are you trying to fix yourself? What situation or sadness has you desiring some knight on a white horse to come and solve it all? To whom are you looking for peace and resolution?

Step away. Quit looking around or within. Give it up.

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2 Responses to Unholy Oholah!

  1. Keith Adams says:

    Jeff, Great questions and insight. What I find is that it is often an orientation issue with me. To what is my heart looking. When I am searching for an answer, am I searching in Christ? Am I caught up in worry and the pressure of life? If so, then I need to settle my soul in Christ, orientate my heart to him as I make myself available for his answer to come. I still pursue the answer in prayer, the counsel of others, and watching for providential circumstances from seemingly strance places, but my soul is at peace in Christ.

    As I write this response I have been rather anxious about some issues. I hate the gnawing feeling at my stomach. Having you remind me and reminding myself through this response is very centering. As I pursue the solutions today, I will pursue them in Christ! Thanks.

  2. Becky says:

    Wow, excellent insight! I’m guilty of the same. It’s so easy to ask others for advice because you get a tangible, quick answer. It’s much more difficult to wait on an answer from God, especially when His answer may be silence or something more difficult.

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