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Ezekiel 45:13-46:24 ~ 1 Peter 1:13-2:10
Psalm 119:33-48 ~ Proverbs 28:11
Old Testament - Ezekiel chapters 45 & 46 describe some new regulations on how offerings are to be done, when compared to the original Pentateuch regulations - primarily from Numbers chapter 28. Apparently these chapters in Ezekiel have created some reconciliation work for rabbis in the past to figure out the proper regulations. Chapter 45 verses 13 through 15 speak of taxes to the prince that must be brought and will be used as offerings for the people who bring them - ""This is the tax you must give to the prince: one bushel of wheat or barley for every sixty you harvest, one percent of your olive oil, and one sheep for every two hundred in your flocks in Israel. These will be the grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings that will make atonement for the people who bring them, says the Sovereign LORD."
Verse 20 in chapter 46 did stand out at me in today's readings - "He explained, "This is where the priests will cook the meat from the guilt offerings and sin offerings and bake the flour from the grain offerings into bread. They will do it here to avoid carrying the sacrifices through the outer courtyard and harming the people by transmitting holiness to them." Per a previous chapter this goes along the lines of the priests needing to take off their clothes in a special room after being in the Temple, to avoid transmitting holiness. This is interesting to me because you would think that transmitting holiness would be a good thing. Apparently not in this case. This does remind me of when Moses was on the mountain receiving the Laws, he had to wear a veil over his face amongst the people when he came down from the mountain because his face was so radiant from being in the presence of God. I read a commentary that said this transmission of holiness, in this case in Ezekiel, was not something for the Israelites to concern themselves with, because this was a vision of a future temple. I read another commentary that made the interesting point that these passages in Ezekiel can help demonstrate the transmission of holiness from Jesus' robe to the woman who suffered from bleeding for 12 years - see Mark 5:22-34. She was healed by reaching out and touching Jesus' robe. Of course Jesus says that it was the woman's faith that healed her - not her touching his robe. It is intriguing to think about the transmission of holiness via garments or sacrifices. I'll need to do more study on the problem of "transmitting holiness" in this case in Ezekiel. If anyone has ideas about this, please post up in the comments section below. Thanks.
New Testament - 1 Peter 2 verse 2 is awesome - "You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness." Do you crave pure spiritual milk? What is pure spiritual milk? Could it be the Word of God, the Bible? Do you believe the Bible can help you grow into the fullness of your salvation? Do you cry out for this nourishment? Do you drink deeply of this nourishment?
Verse 5 is beautiful imagery - "And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are God's holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ." Do you believe that you are a living stone in God's spiritual temple? Do you believe you are a holy priest of God? If realizing that you are a holy priest of God is something new for you, how might this change how you live your life?
Today in First Peter chapter 1 verse 15 we read: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.”” Do you believe that God is holy? Do you believe that you are called to be holy? Is this a goal in your life – to be holy? What are some ways you can move forward on this goal of being holy? Have you moved forward in holiness in 2005? Will continue to move forward in holiness in 2006? What are some specific areas of your life that God is calling you to holiness in during this next year?
Psalms - Today in Psalm 119 verses 47 & 48 we read – “I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” Do you believe it is possible to delight in God’s commands? Why might this be a good thing? Do you believe it is possible to actually love God’s commands? What are God’s commands? Where can we find them? (okay, I’ll give you a hint – the answer is all over Psalm 119 :) - God’s Word, the Bible is where we can find God’s commands) Do you meditate upon God’s decrees as found in the Bible? Do you love the Bible? This seems like a strange question to ask in some regards. . . but, maybe ask yourself this – do you love books in general? I think many of us would say we love books. (Maybe using the term loosely. . .) So, if we were to consider just one book that it would really make sense to invest our time in; to meditate upon; to read for all of our lives; to love – what would that book be? Why would it be that book? Are you a bookworm when it comes to the Bible?
Today in Psalm 119 verse 37 we read: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Are there currently things in your life that you are spending time on – focusing your eyes on – that are worthless? What are these things? Do you want to turn your eyes away from these things? Will you? Do you believe that your life can be preserved by the Word of God – the Bible? How will you continue to preserve your life according to God’s Word on a daily basis in 2006? Do you consider the Bible literally to be a "life preserver" for you in the midst of the raging rivers of life? Will you hold onto this life preserver each and every day?
Proverbs - Proverb 28:11 is a great reminder to not think of ourselves as being wise in our own eyes... others will see through our supposed "wisdom"! Tangent alert - And yes, at this time I feel that it's been a long time since I brought out the photo of the cute little monkey who some say is being "haughty" or wise in his own eyes. I say the monkey is just being cute! :) (I really couldn't find a good image for this proverb.... and it's time for dinner... so I punted and went with the monkey... please forgive... :)
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!