The Dark Room

Ezekiel 8.10, 12

“He brought me to the entrance of the court, and as I watched, I noticed a hole in the wall. He said to me, ‘Son of man,[1] dig into the wall.’ So I dug into the wall and discovered a doorway.”

“He said to me, ‘Go in and see the evil abominations they are practicing here.’ So I went in and looked.” 

“He said to me, ‘Do you see, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in the chamber of his idolatrous images? For they think, “The Lord does not see us! The Lord has abandoned the land!”’”  

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I would be mortified if others knew exactly what I was thinking. If the images of my mind were projected on a wide-screen television for all to see, I would be more than just a little embarrassed. If I imagine myself as an ancient city, the wall around the city is what I project to the outside world. I welcome friends through the proper gate into the town square where I present entertaining shows and engage in inspirational conversation. Only trusted friends receive an invitation to my personal residence where they may observe how I actually live.

But there is a room in my imaginary home no one is invited to enter. I call it the “dark” room and I try never to go in there. In this “chamber of… idolatrous images” hangs pictures of lust and greed. It is decorated with idols of jealousy and selfish ambition. People I despise are imprisoned there. I am ashamed of this room and tightly lock the door.  Though it insistently beckons me, I try to forget its existence. I’m afraid of this room. It’s very dark in there.

The Lord found “a hole in the wall” of my fortified city of self. He “dug into the wall and discovered a doorway” to my “dark” room. He “went in and looked” around. I was ashamed. I thought “the Lord does not see. But He does. I thought “the Lord… abandoned” me to my room alone. But He didn’t.

Instead of politely avoiding this area of my abode, Jesus found His way in and shed His light. With the same righteous anger He exhibited when he overturned the money-changing tables in the Temple at Jerusalem (John 2:13-16), Jesus engaged in serious house cleaning. The junk in my “dark” room was exposed, ripped from its sacred pedestal, and thrown out with the trash. 

Sometimes I feel sad, lonely, hurt, afraid, or otherwise “abandoned” by God. I am tempted to sneak back into my “chamber of… idolatrous images” and close the door behind me. I know this room well. I can hide from my outside realities, fully embrace my self-pity, and practice the “evil abominations” of my secret sin and addictive behaviors.

How thankful I am for the “Son of man,” and my sisters and brothers in recovery, who will “dig into the wall” of my dark and private space and expose me to the light of God's relentless and unending love.

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[1] There are glaring similarities between the book of Ezekiel and key portions of the New Testament including the allegorical teachings of Jesus’ parables and the fantastic imagery of John’s Revelation. I am most intrigued by the symbolic title “son of man” used in the Hebrew Scriptures almost exclusively by Ezekiel (over 90 times). “Son of Man” became Jesus’ favorite title for Himself, also appearing nearly 90 times in the four Gospels.