Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 16th

Tolerating Jezebel

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

Rev 2:20-21

Evidently there was in the church at Thyatira a woman who was a very dominant leader. Jesus names her Jezebel. That was not her name, of course, but our Lord always names people according to their character. Here he chooses the name of the most evil woman in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament Jezebel was the daughter of the king of Sidon. She was the wife of King Ahab of Israel, and she is particularly noted for having made the worship of the god Baal popular in Israel. Baal was a fertility god, and his worship involved immoral practices. There were temple prostitutes, both male and female, associated with the worship of Baal. She was a ruthless, immoral seducer of the people, and that is why Jesus selects her name for this dominant woman at Thyatira.

This Jezebel in Thyatira called herself a prophetess. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. But the trouble with Jezebel is that she was a false prophet. She taught that it was all right for Christians to indulge in sexual immorality and idolatry.

This whole scenario is paralleled in many churches today that accept the easy-going sexuality and lack of standards that is so widespread in our society. Some churches approve of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. Many do not discipline their members when they fall into sexual immorality. Others allow pornography to go unchallenged in their midst. But the Lord holds the church responsible. His accusation to the church in Thyatira is, You tolerate that woman Jezebel. This is a problem that church leadership has to face in our day as well.

Notice that the Lord links sexual immorality with idolatry. We may find that strange, but actually one inevitably leads to the other. The reason is this: fornication and adultery are both clear-cut violations of specific and explicit statements in the Word of God. It is wrong for believers to indulge in sexual immorality of any sort. When one does, he or she has deliberately violated the authority of God, therefore, in practice, if not in profession, God is no longer their God. The result is, they must find another god, for it is impossible for the human spirit to live without something to live for. That is what a god is. Whatever you are living for, whatever makes life worthwhile to you, becomes your god. It may be the god of pleasure, even sexual pleasure. It may be the god of wealth. It may be the god of power, a lust for power and ambition. It may be the search for fame. Your place of work will often be the place of greatest temptation in this regard. It is right where you work that you will be under pressure to compromise, and to go along with the standards of the world around you.

Father, forgive me for the ways in which I tolerate Jezebel, perhaps without even knowing it. Show me my own lust for power, pleasure, and selfish ambition. Amen.

Life Application

Evaluate what you are really living for, at work and at home. What are the things besides God that you feel you cannot live without?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Thyatira: The Worldly Church

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