Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to be the Bearded Lady, or the Goat Boy? What would it be like for people to gawk at you and stare because you are to them a spectacle, and no more? To be valued based on your admittance price? I imagine it would feel pretty miserable to only be loved for your entertainment value. I imagine it would feel like God feels.
Ezekiel 33:30-32 says,
As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. (from the ESV, emphasis mine)
Here God is telling Ezekiel what to expect as a prophet. People will want to listen to him. They will talk about him and invite people to go hear him preach. But, as Ezekiel speaks the word of God, his audience will be thinking about their money and the things they would rather be doing. As he pleads and begs for them to repent, they will applaud his performance. As he, with tears, implores them to be obedient to God, they will laugh with entertaining delight.
But, it is not Ezekiel who is made the sideshow–it is God.
I wonder how often we do the same. God says twice in this section, “they hear what you say, but they will not do it;” and He is talking about us. Every time we hear a good sermon, but fail to put it into practice, we make God a sideshow. Every time we read His word, but refuse to apply it to our own lives, we make God a sideshow. Every time we discover the convicting message of God, but think it applies to someone else rather than to us, we make God a sideshow.
But, God is not a carnival attraction. He is Lord of the universe. I pray that I will respect, love, and serve Him, and not merely be entertained by Him.