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Ezekiel 40:28-41:26 ~ James 4:1-17
Psalm 118:19-29 ~ Proverbs 28:3-5
Old Testament - Ezekiel chapters 40 & 41 in today's readings are verses where we read a lot about measurements and cubits and such. I have to admit. I sometimes zone out a bit when reading this type of stuff in the Old Testament. However - something that popped into my mind once when reading through these types of verses that has benefited me greatly in my appreciation of measurements and such is this - God is a God of precision. God is a God of detail. God is an organized God. Which I think is great news! I mean, look at our own human bodies and all our internal organs and such. We are wonderfully made by a God who is a God of precision and detail. So, in remembering this when I read these types of measurements verses, it helps. It helps me keep my focus and interest on what I'm reading. I hope this helps you in some way as you read through detailed chapters like these in the Bible. If God showed this much organization and care for Ezekiel's Temple, do you suppose he continues to show his organization and care for our local churches today?
Ezekiel chapter 41 verse 3 does stand out - "Then he went into the inner room at the end of the Holy Place." This is interesting in that the angelic being leading Ezekiel through this vision and the temple enters the Most Holy Place - Ezekiel does not. Even though it's a vision. And even though God's presence is not in the Most Holy Place at this time (we'll see the Presence coming next chapter). And yet Ezekiel does not enter. Why? Because the law was that only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place. This shows great obedience on Ezekiel's part. Even in a vision, he's obedient. Are there areas of our life where God is calling us to be obedient? Even if we think our obedience in a specific circumstance or situation won't matter (e.g. a vision or a dream or even a small circumstance in real life) - will we still be obedient? And below is one of my all-time favorite images of obedience that I have to post up a couple of times a year... :)
New Testament - James chapter 4 continues to just level me... This book is phenomenal. I need to read this book more than just once a year when I come round to it in the One Year Bible. The verse today that just made me set the Bible down for a minute and reflect was verse 4 - "You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can't be a friend of God." That is some heavy duty language... it pierced me in reading it today. Am I a friend of the world? Am I trying to be a friend of the world? Am I trying to enjoy this world? Per this verse, where does this pursuit of the world put me with my relationship with God? Am I an "adulterer", in the sense of my relationship with God and the world? (now, please keep in mind, I'm a huge fan and believer of grace... but sometimes we need to let verses like this really sink in. We need to reflect. And respond if need be...)
Verse 7 is something surely each one of us should commit to memory - "Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you." This is so true. Resist. And he will flee! Please know this is true! Resist!
And verse 8 is so true as well - "Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you." Another one to put into memory - and practice each day. Have you drawn close to God this very day? And has God drawn close to you?
Verse 14 I think is so helpful for us to remember - and to give Thanks for each day we have - "How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." Life is short. Every day is indeed a blessing and an opportunity to love and know God more. Please take advantage of each and every day God gives you. Diving into his Word each day through the One Year Bible is one amazing thing you can do every day. (How dizzy does this little image below make you? It is tough to look at it for too long!)
Psalms - Psalm 118 is the last half of the psalm sung by Jesus and the disciples after the Last Supper - see yesterday's posting below for details. What an amazing Psalm... Verse 22 was quoted by Jesus in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10 and Luke 20:17 and he used this verse to refer to himself - "The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone." Do you believe this verse applies to Jesus? Is Jesus the cornerstone in your life?
Verse 26 was the chant of the crowds as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday - "Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD." And verse 29 I'm pretty sure is a Michael W. Smith song - "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." :)
Proverbs - Proverbs 28 verse 4 is a great reminder that obeying God "heaps coals upon the head" of those who are not obeying God. Let us obey the Lord! Let us obey the lion of Judah!
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!