~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
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!
On "transmitting holiness":
My father took me on a short vacation to Philadelphia when I was about 9 years old. We entered an elevator in the downtown motel where we were staying. A man, who my father later told me was Billy Graham, placed his hand on my head for just a few seconds and closed his eyes. As you can see, I still remember that incident even until today. Was that "transmitting holiness"? I think so.
Now, I too like to touch someone on the shoulder and say a short, silent prayer for them--try it sometime!
Grace and Peace,
Posted by: Jeff | November 23, 2005 at 02:53 AM
Mike I never thought much of that 20th verse in the 46th chapter until you brought it up, hmmm. I went to my commentaries and I read the text, in context, in different translations and found the writers had not clear-cut explanation of this. Yes, I do think this command,
And he said to me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the guilt offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the [bloodless] meal offering, to prevent their having to bring them into the outer court, lest they should thereby wrongfully sanctify (separate and consecrate for holy service) the people who are there.
(Ezekiel 46:20 AMP)
has something to do with Ezekiel 44:19, not wearing the priestly garments when they are in the outer court. They would have to take off their garments to carry the sacrifice/offerings; however, out of their garments they could or were not suppose to perform their duties.
Also in thinking about human nature, the nature to identify oneself as being important based on where you’ve been, what you’ve seen and what you have, the people may begin to believe they were holy because they were next to, brushed by or actually came into contract with said sacrifices and or the priests and his garment. Just think of the people who press into the stage to “touch” a entertainer’s hand. We Christians are good for running from Convention to Convention to see and hear some great man or woman of God who we think preaches the best, heals the best or “operates in the gifts of the spirit” the best. We do this despite the Words of God that state,
But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your mind and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:14 AMP). According to John 1:1 the Word is Jesus Christ and it is He that we should be running after and seeking. The man or woman of God is just a vessel God is using to point us to Christ.
I don’t know if this is any help at all. Maybe your question, Mike, is one we will have to ask God when we get to heaven.
1 Peter 1:13-2:10
I’m going to string or connect two passages together, one is the first chapter and the other in the second. In my mind, and this doesn’t mean that anyone else should see this connection, the two are related and interlocked. This translation uses the word, self-control while others use the concept of preparing one’s mind only,
1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed, and 2:1 So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing.
Self-control is something I’ve thought about for a long, long time. If one is self-controlled then they are who they are when no one is looking because that is really who they are, for good or bad. Most of us are “good” because of laws, edits, the threat or fear of shame, and or the fear of going to jail or winding up in hell. Negative motivation to behave rightly does nothing for the heart, where the problem is. I believe the condition of the heart is what truly controls our behavior, which can be suppressed by outside or external controls. That is why Jesus said if a man thinks about committing murder or other evil deed and/or adultery (Matt. 5:21-28) he has already committed it and is in danger.
So again, Mike thank you for beginning this Blog to encourage us all to read through the Bible yearly and to develop a relationship with the Word of God. The Word in our hearts is the only way we can develop true self-control as stated in the 119th Psalm.
I really like this Proverb as written in the New Living,
Rich people picture themselves as wise, but their real poverty is evident to the poor.
This confirms for me in my own mind that there is a “poverty” that has nothing to do with a lack of natural or monetary resources. In fact according to the Parable of The talents, everyone has been given a “talent” or gift to be used. Godly wisdom is free if one pursues God, yet many fail to pursue the One who is Wisdom how poor is that?
"Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come! Buy and eat! Come! Buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing! Enjoy fine food! Pay attention and come to me! Listen, so you can live! Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you, just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.
(Isaiah 55:1-3 NET.)
Grace and peace and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday, but us Christians know that for us everyday is a Thanksgiving Day!
Posted by: Ramona | November 23, 2005 at 05:11 AM
I had wanted to add the Hebrew word used behind the NLT’s word “holiness,” in the 20th verse of chapter 46 of Ezekiel.
It is: qâdash (6942 Strong’s Number)
A primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): - appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.
If someone who is morally “dirty” has holiness transmitted to him or her without taking care of the condition of their heart and repenting, changing directions, their would be no incentive to clean up their act, so to speak.
Posted by: Ramona | November 23, 2005 at 05:20 AM
I just offer these verses. Having intimacy with our Father God in Jesus' Name in the power of the Spirit depends on FORGIVENESS.
Matthew 6 (CEV – Contemporary English Version)
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.
But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18 (CEV – Contemporary English Version)
An Official Who Refused To Forgive
Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone [a follower of Christ] who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?"
Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! [never stop forgiving another]
This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like: One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him.
As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins.
But he didn't have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt.
The official got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!"
The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money.
As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, "Pay me what you owe!"
The man got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you back."
But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed.
When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened.
The king called the first official back in and said, "You're an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent.
Don't you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?"
The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed.
That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don't forgive each of my followers with all your heart.
Posted by: Vance Brown | November 23, 2005 at 05:43 AM