Ezekiel 20:1-49 ~ Hebrews 9:11-28 ~ Psalm 107:1-43 ~ Proverbs 27:11
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Old Testament - Ezekiel chapter 20 verse 12 stands out to me today: "And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I, the LORD, had set them apart to be holy, making them my special people." I like learning this - the Sabbath days of rest were given as a sign between God and his people. How are you doing on taking a day of rest each week? Would taking a day of rest each week - a Sabbath day - benefit your relationship with God? And with others? Would it benefit perhaps the other 6 days of your week? Below is a great painting titled "The Sabbath Rest" by the Jewish Polish painter Samuel Hirszenberg from the year 1894:
After verse 12 above, we read this from God in verse 13: ""But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my laws there in the wilderness. They wouldn't obey my instructions even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the desert." The thing that stood out to me in this verse was "they also violated my Sabbath days." I don't get too caught up on which day of the week we take a Sabbath - as some may work weekends and have Mondays off, for example. Whatever the day is for you - do you have 1 day a week that you consider a Sabbath? Why might this be a smart thing to do? A healthy thing to do? A faithful thing to do?
In Ezekiel 20:40 we read: “There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices.” What are your offerings, choice gifts and holy sacrifices to the Lord? Your life, your thoughts, your finances? Do you give a percentage of your income to your local church, ministries, and nonprofits? Would this perhaps be a "holy sacrifice" if you did so? Would this be a bold act of faith?
New Testament - Hebrews chapter 9 verses 27 & 28 today teaches us: "And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people." This stands in stark contrast to the old covenant where the High Priest had to atone for the people's sins over and over and over again. With faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven all at once - for eternity - and Christ does not need to forgive us of our sins over and over and over again. Faith in Christ is the one and only thing that matters. Do you believe this?
Psalms - Psalm 107 today is a wonderful Psalm of thanksgiving! Okay, be honest, who started busting out singing the Michael W. Smith worship tune "Forever" when you read verse 1? - "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." I did! That's a great tune... based on a great verse in a great Psalm.
Psalm 107 repeats a verse four times - starting with verse 6 here - ""LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress." (then see verse 13, verse 19, and verse 28 - same verse) This is a great reminder to pray - and yes, it's great to pray during times of distress of course. But, how about praying during times of happiness & joy? Or even times of just regular blahs? I recently read much of the book "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg (great book!), and it has a great chapter on prayer. It is so true that one of the best ways to truly know and love God is through prayer. Simple prayer. 5 minutes a day. Do you pray to God 5 minutes a day? When the storms of life come, do you cry out for help to Jesus? Do you know that he will always be there for you in the midst of the storm?
Proverbs - It is interesting to read Proverbs 27:11 as if God was writing this to each of us: "My child, how happy I will be if you turn out to be wise! Then I will be able to answer my critics." Are we spending our lives striving to be wise in God's eyes or the world's eyes? Do you think that God will be happy if you are wise? Do you want godly wisdom? Where will you find it? Below is an image of a young Jesus growing in wisdom with Scripture - think this made God happy?
Worship God: Today's readings in Hebrews reminded me of the fantastic Jason Castro song "You Are:"
Can you sing to Jesus, "You Are the One?" Click here and sing to the One!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." Hebrews 9:15 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that Jesus Christ is your mediator and that you have been called to receive eternal life. Pray in faith that Jesus Christ died as a ransom for your sins and that you are now living a new eternal life in Christ.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!
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