(click on the date above for today's readings)
Ezekiel 1:1-3:15 ~ Hebrews 3:1-19
Psalm 104:1-23 ~ Proverbs 26:24-26
Wow... today is a phenomenal day of readings in the One Year Bible.. Ezekiel is intense stuff! I honestly think this is the first time I've really dove into Ezekiel and what this book is all about. This is thanks to you all - everyone participating in the One Year Bible and this blog - gracias for getting me to dive deeper into the book of Ezekiel...
Ezekiel has so much going on that I would encourage you to not just rely on my post today. Please read up more in your One Year Bible Companion book or other Study Bibles that you might own on this book. I am surely going to forget to post up something. A good introduction to the book of Ezekiel is online here. And a good argument of the book of Ezekiel is here.
Okay, I'll start on my ramblings on the book of Ezekiel. Honestly, the first time the book of Ezekiel ever really registered in my mind was when I heard a pastor describe Ezekiel as a book that seems to be influenced by psychedelic drugs. :) Of course, the pastor was joking. And this book is clearly God-breathed, as is all scripture. But, as you read today's readings, you can see where the pastor came up with this joke....
Ezekiel, the person, is a prophet whose name means "God strengthens" - which is clearly a good thing for those in the prophet business. We've recently wrapped up the book of Jeremiah and are well aware of the challenges facing a prophet. The interesting thing to note is that Jeremiah was prophesying in Judah and Ezekiel was prophesying in Babylon to the exiles from Judah. These two were doing their work at about the same time roughly, but in different geographies. Ezekiel gets his call to be a prophet in probably his 30th year of life - the age when most of the priestly line were called to be priests. Instead, Ezekiel was called to be a prophet - which, is probably a good thing because he is living in exile in Babylon - so wouldn't have been able to perform the priestly duties at the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel's call comes in 593 B.C., which is 7 years prior to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. Ezekiel's ministry goes until 571 B.C., at the age of 52. (which is 2 years beyond what most priests would have served - from ages 30 to 50).
Diving into today's readings.... Chapter 1 is an incredible vision and call that Ezekiel receives. Surely the flying creatures with 4 faces and wings are a highlight of this vision. What is up with these you ask? Good question. They are called "cherubim" later in the book of Ezekiel (c. 10) and are also thought to be the creatures in Isaiah called seraphs - and they show up again in the book of Revelation. If you get a vision, and you see these creatures, you know something big is going on... :) Interesting thing about these creatures - their four faces representing a human, lion, ox and an eagle have many interpretations - basically relating to the nature of God. One of the coolest interpretations I read was that these 4 represent the 4 Gospels as well - Matthew being the lion, Mark being the ox, Luke being the human and John being the eagle. You'll have to pick up a commentary to read more on why these analogies have been made.... (just trying to get everyone to dive into books beyond this blog...) or, if you really want to know, post up in the comments section below and I'll spill the beans.
One of the powerful things about Ezekiel Chapter 1 is that God has left the Temple! Literally. This is huge news at this time... Back in this time of the Old Testament God's glory was believed to have only been in the Temple in Jerusalem. Well, Ezekiel is in Babylon. Like Elvis - God has left the building! :) (sorry, bad joke...) This is actually big news. And certainly will become very necessary for the glory of the Lord to not be in the Temple a mere 7 years later when the Temple is destroyed in 586 B.C.
Ezekiel Chapter 2 is God's Call and Commission of Ezekiel. Don't we all wish that God could be this clear with us about the purpose of our lives sometimes? :)
Ezekiel Chapter 3 has the great telling of Ezekiel eating the scroll of God. And it tasting like honey - even though it had words of doom upon it. As I reflect on this, I wonder this - Can we eat of the Word of God? Does the Word nourish us? Is the Word nourishing you? Is it as sweet as honey? Will you eat of it?
Then, Ezekiel 3, verse 15 ends with a very appropriate line I believe- "I sat there among them for seven days, overwhelmed." Think you'd be overwhelmed if you experienced chapters 1 & 2?? Whew. I am looking forward to us staring the book of Ezekiel! Thanks for joining me on this ride!
Hebrews chapter 3 today is a great look at the lives of Moses and Jesus. I don't think the text today really dives into this point. But, something I heard recently that is worth remembering - Moses introduced to Israel the Old Covenant (testament) via the Ten Commandments and laws. Whereas, Jesus ushers in the New Covenant to Israel and all of the world. So, this chapter goes into why Jesus is greater than Moses. Probably this Old Cov v. New Cov point alone would prove this to be true - but, obviously Jesus is also God in the flesh. Moses was simply a man. (albeit a great man in so many ways!)
Verse 15 is repeated twice in today's readings, so it probably is something important for us to remember - "But never forget the warning: "Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled."" Are you listening to God's voice? How is the soil of your heart toward God? Will you let him plant new life within you? Will you let him pull the weeds that need to be pulled?
Psalm 104 today is a great Psalm celebrating God's work in nature! I was fortunate enough to have taken a hike in Boulder today, and fortunately had some brief moments of enjoying God's splendor in nature. Worshiping God in nature - not worshiping nature itself mind you... :) (there is a difference...)
Proverbs 26:24-26 is another good reminder to look beyond simply the kind words that we may hear... get to know the underlying motives....
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!