~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Ezekiel 44:1-45:12 ~ 1 Peter 1:1-12
Psalm 119:17-32 ~ Proverbs 28:8-10
Old Testament - In Ezekiel chapters 44 & 45 today we see the priesthood restored to Israel. It's interesting that the Levites are taken down a notch in how they can serve in the temple and the Zadokites are elevated. Zadok was a priest during the time of David & Solomon and a descendent of Eleazar and ultimately Aaron. Below is a fresco of Zadok by Michelangelo from the year 1611 and is in the Capella Sistina at the Vatican in Rome -
Chapter 44, verse 28 stood out to me today - "As to property, the priests will not have any, for I alone am their inheritance." I like that! God alone is the priests' inheritance. What is our inheritance? Is it property? Is it things of this earth? Or could our inheritance be God as well? Should God be our inheritance? How is God our inheritance? If the Lord is not our inheritance, what then do we inherit? The wind? It's an age old debate as you'll see in the image below. Where do you stand? Can we inherit eternal life through the grace of God and faith in Jesus? Or do we simply inherit the wind? (Nothingness) What does your heart tell you? What does the Bible tell you?
In Ezekiel chapter 45 verses 1 through 8 today we read about the division of the land for Ezekiel's temple vision. A nice simple image of these verses is below -
New Testament - Today we begin the Apostle Peter's first epistle! Below is a Russian Orthodox icon of Peter -
~ First Peter ~
Author: Peter the apostle
Place: Uncertain, perhaps Rome
Date: A.D. 63 or 64
Content: The apostle Peter wrote this letter near the end of his life to comfort and encourage the Jewish Christians who were living in Asia Minor. He points out that suffering is part of the Christian life and that God has an imperishable reward reserved for those who trust him. In case any were thinking of returning to Judaism to escape from persecution, Peter points out that the church is now the chosen nation and the priesthood of God. Hence any thoughts of returning to Judaism were futile. Peter then presents the example of Christ who suffered and admonished the believers to be prepared for the same experience.
Theme: The theme of First Peter is triumph through suffering. Early Christians lived difficult lives, often paying for their faith with their lives, but this letter shows us that it is worth it, no matter what the price. God knows all that is occurring and in his eternal plan will work everything out for the best. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 32)
A great overview of First Peter and the other “Non-Pauline Epistles” by J. Hampton Keathley is at this link. Scroll down just below his commentary on Hebrews & James to get to his commentary on First Peter. Below is an oil painting of Peter by the artist El Greco (known as "The Greek", but the artist's real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos) from the early 17th century -
1 Peter 1:4-6 are powerful verses - "For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while." These verses tie in nicely with the Ezekiel 44:28 comments above, no? :) Are we truly glad about this priceless inheritance? Do we believe there is a priceless inheritance for us in heaven? Do we understand that we may have to endure many trials in this life before receiving this inheritance? Will you endure the many trials that will come your way, knowing that God's inheritance is awaiting you through His grace and your faith in Christ?
Verse 8 is a beautiful thought about Jesus and our relationship with him (and ties in nicely with this picture above) - "You love him even though you have never seen him." Even though you have never seen Jesus, do you love Him?
Psalms - Wow. Psalm 119 verse 29 is powerful - "Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law." Do you ever lie to yourself? If you answered no, are you lying to yourself now? :) I think that lying to ourselves is part of our fallen human condition. I think we're probably pretty good at it. And I think that maybe the cure for this is even found in this same verse - the prayer of "give me the privilege of knowing your law." It is a privilege to know God's Word. It is a free privilege, but a privilege that I think we can often take for granted or simply ignore. Through our study of God's Word let us pray that we allow God to show us any area of our life where we might be lying to ourselves. And let us allow God to redeem that area and give us the clarity of Truth. Like this Psalmist, will you pray to God and ask Him to keep you from lying to yourself? Will you pray this prayer often?
Proverbs - Proverb 28:9 makes me simply say yikes... "The prayers of a person who ignores the law are despised." This proverb is quite the opposite from yesterday's readings in James telling us the prayers of a righteous person are powerful in James 5:16b ... "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results." Think there is a correlation between what these two verses teach? Lord, please let our prayers be heard!
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!
The following verses really caught my eye and I do not know why. I believe there is something really important in them though the directions given seem so trivial.
When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed in linen garments; no wool shall be on them while they minister at the gates of the inner court and within the temple. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat.
(Ezekiel 44:17-18 AMP)
We have this saying, “The devil is in the details.” Maybe we need to change this to God is in the details as we saw in the recording of the exact measurements in the “new” Temple yesterday. As I read the above passage the words of Jesus came into my mind,
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [Jer. 6:16.] For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
(Matthew 11:29-30 AMP)
If you are not “sweating” in your duties the implication is that your duties are not burdensome or hard. Could that be why God commanded the priest to wear linen, fine linen, a fabric than lends itself to hot summer days and is cool looking, wrinkles and all.
1 Peter 1:1-12
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory. They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things angels long to catch a glimpse of.
(1 Peter 1:10-12 NET.)
We are a selfish bunch, me included. Here the prophets looked ahead to the coming generations and endured rejection, rebuke and yes, even death to deliver a message, a hope and promise that they would not take part in, nor see. How many of us look forward in time to the next generation? We sacrifice our children on our altars of pleasure and comfort.
We cut off their vision to the future for our selfishness. We can give the appearance that what we are doing is really for the coming generations but we lie to them and worst, to ourselves. (Psalm 119:29). It’s all about me, myself and I, the unholy trinity. We just gotta feel good.
The 29th verse also says on the flip side, that knowing God, and His law keeps us from lying to ourselves.
“Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law.”
So if we don’t want to be self-deceptive, then we draw near to God by staying attached to the Vine that is Christ.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | November 22, 2005 at 04:14 AM
I Peter 1 (CEV)
Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.
God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.
You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do.
On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while.
Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.
This reminds me of James 1 (Amplified Bible)
JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad [among the Gentiles in the dispersion]: Greetings (rejoice)!
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
** Be encouraged IN THE TRIAL, for the TRIAL is building GLORY in us!
Think of the word: “en-courage”. May be “ IN COURAGE ”. Because we have been PLACED IN CHRIST by the Father, may WE NOW TAKE OUR PLACE IN CHRIST in this life. “In courage” because we are “In Christ”.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” [Jeremiah 9:24]
( I Corinthians 1:30, 31 [NKJV] )
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in this body, I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Posted by: Vance Brown | November 22, 2005 at 06:23 AM