When Adam and Eve ruptured this relationship with Yahweh, we humans lost that image. We became victims of parasitical powers who forced us to model their image. The six false gods of Olympianity did this by threatening us with insecurity, misery, guilt, insignificance, and meaninglessness. They also did this by falsely promising us security, happiness, justification, importance, and meaning in exchange for our loyalty.
When Yahweh had had enough of this foolishness, he invited Abraham (in 1921 BC) to enter with him into a conspiracy of goodness. Yahweh said that he would be god to Abraham. He would speak the truth to Abraham and his descendants that would free them from the power of the Olympian gods. Thus liberated, Abraham and his descendants would be able to serve Yahweh. This would lead to blessing for all. Abraham affirmed his freedom by leaving the gods and walking with Yahweh.
Centuries went by. Yahweh’s people
Yahweh didn’t want that disaster to befall his people. He invited Ezekiel to enter with him into a conspiracy of goodness. Through Ezekiel, Yahweh would tell his people why they faced disaster. Ezekiel affirmed his freedom by leaving the gods, walking with Yahweh, and speaking to the people of
These are some of the words shared by Yahweh through Ezekiel with the leaders and people of
Yahweh's people faced disaster, and at Yahweh's own hands, because they insisted on remaining loyal to the Olympian gods. They persistently spoke Yahweh’s name, and performed the prescribed rituals, but acted like Olympians. Yahweh warned them that, if they refused to stop acting like Olympians, then he would allow them to suffer the consequences of being Olympians.
How did Yahweh’s people act like Olympians? Let us count the ways.
First, its leaders, the members of its ruling class, regarded all less powerful people as legitimate prey. They practiced a redistribution of wealth by taking what little belonged to others and adding it to their own perversely huge heap. They implemented policies and pursued practices that led to impoverishment and death. This was all very conventional, typically Olympian behavior, and would not have been the least bit shocking had those doing it not called themselves the people of Yahweh, the god of life.
Second, its religious authorities, those understood to be the mediators between Yahweh and Yahweh’s people, violated Yahweh's teaching. The normative witnesses to Yahweh’s words and ways violated both by turning religious practices into means of serving the Olympian gods.
Third, its functionaries, the members of its managerial class, mirrored the image of their leaders as these embodied the false gods they adored. Like their leaders, these functionaries hurt marginal people to help themselves.
Fourth, its prophets, those understood to be speakers of the liberating word of Yahweh here and now, lied without even knowing it. They lied by proclaiming that the Olympian ways of Yahweh’s leaders and people were, in truth, Yahweh’s ways. They lied by justifying parasites as virtuous and the powerless as losers deserving their punishment.
Fifth, and finally, even its laborers, the members of its working class, acted like those above them by taking what they could from others; that is, by treating other human beings simply as means to their own Olympian ends.
As Yahweh brooded over his people, he found that all of them—leaders, religious authorities, managers, prophets, and even workers—thought of themselves as his people while adoring the Olympian gods and living as ardent witnesses to them.
What was Yahweh, alone committed to life, supposed to do when confronted by this glaring absurdity? I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one (Ezekiel 22:30).
It would be comforting to say that people claiming to serve Jesus today no longer pursue such absurdities; comforting, but false. But the question for us is this: if Jesus comes looking once again for companions with him in conspiracies of goodness, if today he again invites people to repair walls, stand in breaches, and save the land, will any of us join him? When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).
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