Ezekiel 33:1-34:31 + Hebrews 13:1-25 + Psalm 115:1-18 + Proverbs 27:21-22
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Old Testament - In Ezekiel chapter 33 today we see Ezekiel appointed as the Watchman of Israel - once again. You'll recall this happened previously in chapter 3 of Ezekiel as well. The difference is that now we're in the post-destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple, so we'll quickly start to see more of a message of hope & redemption, in addition to continued calls for repentance. I think in verse 11 we start to see this shift in the Lord's wanting to restore Jerusalem & Israel again: "As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?" The call for repentance... Are there areas in your life where God may be calling you to "Turn!"? Will you Turn?
Verse 32 stands out to me today when God talks about how the exiles view Ezekiel's messages: "You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don't do it!" This makes me think even of ourselves - maybe even in our churches... Do we sometimes go to church looking for a good "performance" from the church or musicians or pastors? And maybe miss the gospel message? Do we applaud the performance? Even hear what is said? But don't do anything about it...?
Ezekiel chapter 34 reminds me a lot of the famous and beautiful Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want... " However, before we get to God being the Good Shepherd - and hear about the Good Shepherd to come - there is some rebuking of the "shepherds" of Israel at that time, that may also have a message for us. In verses 3 & 4 we read: “You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.” Could this verse speak into our lives in some way? Is it possible that we eat fine food and wear fine clothes at the expense of others in need? Are we consistently strengthening the weak? Healing the sick? Binding up the injured? 1.2 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day. Are you doing something to care for these brothers and sisters on a consistent basis? What are you doing?
New Testament - We wrap up the book of Hebrews today, and start James tomorrow! Hebrews chapter 13 verse 2 has always stood out to me - "Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" Powerful eh? When we show hospitality to strangers, we may be entertaining angels! Something to definitely keep in mind... Below is an engraving from the 16th century by Georg Pencz of Abraham entertaining angels from Genesis:
Verse 7 I think is a great reminder for each of us to rejoice in and show some appreciation for those that helped bring us to faith and to study the Bible - "Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do." Is there someone right now that this verse makes you think of? Can you send them a card or a quick email of encouragement to thank them for the impact they have had on your spiritual life?
Verse 8 is infamous and powerful and please memorize this one: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." This is an easy verse to memorize, no? Say it with me. Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Yep, I think you got it. :)
Psalms - Today in Psalm 115 verse 1 we will read – “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory.” (Chris Tomlin fans out there will recognize this as one of his many awesome worship tunes. . .) I don’t know how this verse strikes you, but it strikes me hard. Which is good. I think sometimes I do things for my own glory. And this verse, and really the entire Bible, is clear that the glory is God’s and not ours. Yeah, sure, we will live our lives full of “glorious” moments when we are loving God and loving people. But, we should not be living our lives to build up our own fame or our own glory. As Rick Warren states so well in the 1st sentence of the 1st chapter of his book “Purpose Driven Life”- “It is not about you.” And this is true. It is about God. And this is good news! Really. I have tried to live my life in the past where it was all about me. And this was a miserable way to live life. I pray that you see the incredible wisdom in this verse - “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory.” How are you living your life? Are you living your life to advance the fame and glory of God? Are you doing this by loving God and loving other people with all that you are? Or, are you by chance living your life to advance the fame and glory of yourself? And if so. . . how’s this going for you?
Proverbs - Proverbs 27 verse 21 I think carries forward our theme from the opening of Psalm 115 again very succinctly - "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised." When you are praised, where should the glory go?
Worship Video: Ezekiel 34:4 today reminded me of this great video below of the African Children's Choir singing "Walking in the Light!"
Are you walking in the Light of God? Click here for the Light!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray in thanksgiving that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! Pray that you are walking in Jesus' Light today and forevermore!
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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