Ezekiel 14:12-16:41 + Hebrews 7:18-28 + Psalm 106:1-12 + Proverbs 27:4-6
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Old Testament - I am fascinated by God's words in Ezekiel chapter 14 verses 13 & 14 today: "Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals. Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord." The first thing these verses tell us is that God's judgment upon Jerusalem at this time was certain. Even the righteousness of Noah, Daniel, and Job couldn't change that - only these 3 men would have been saved. However, this got me thinking. Is it possible that sometimes today we try to build up our own righteousness to ensure our own salvation and basically do nothing to try to build up others righteousness and help them toward their salvation? Meaning, do we sometimes retreat into a "Christian bubble" and ignore the rest of "the world." Leave them to their own devices. It just made me think when reading about Noah, Daniel, and Job that my hunch is that these 3 would not just chill out and relax in the glory and certitude of their own righteousness. My hunch is that they would get out there on the streets and try to save others. So, what about you and me? Are we just cocooning in our own righteousness and salvation, or are we taking salvation to the streets? Are we retreating from the battle for others' salvation or are we engaged in it? What say you?
Ezekiel chapter 14 verse 23 tells us today: "When you meet them and see their behavior, you will agree that these things are not being done to Israel without cause, says the Sovereign LORD." I think sometimes we can read some select verses in the Old Testament out of context and think God is being harsh. God here reminds us that he is not being harsh without cause. And we'll see more of the cause in chapter 16 today... Below is an image of Ezekiel prophesying to the elders who visited him in chapter 14 verse 1:
Ezekiel chapter 15 is an interesting one for me today, where God basically calls Jerusalem a useless grape vine. In reading this I am also reminded that Jesus in John 15 uses the grape vine analogy again saying "I am the vine and you are the branches." This tells me that Jesus redeems even useless grape vines! :) However, using this Ezekiel analogy, are we growing in our lives like trees or like vines? How thick are your roots? How solid is your core?
Ezekiel chapter 16 is a fascinating and sad look at the city of Jerusalem. This is the first time I have really spent a little bit of time with this chapter. The question I find for myself in reading this chapter is this: has God blessed us similarly in some ways that he blessed Jerusalem? Have we, perhaps, in some ways used the blessings that God has given us in improper ways? Verse 6 in this chapter stood out to me: "But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, `Live!'" Bible commentaries suggest that this one word - Live! - is God's basic desire for all humans. How powerful is that realization? How very beautiful... Live! Let us Live!
New Testament - Hebrews chapter 7 verse 27 teaches us today: "Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people." I hadn't really thought a lot about this before. In the Old Testament the Levitical priests had to offer sacrifices first for their own sins - and then they would be clean / pure enough to offer sacrifices for others sins. The good news of course in the New Testament and in this chapter is that we now have the perfectly clean and pure High Priest of Jesus Christ - who does not need to purify himself first! He never sinned. Will you take your sins to Jesus, your High Priest?
Psalms - Psalm 106 is a repentive Psalm, likely written by a Levitical priest after returning to Jerusalem after its destruction. Verse 2 stood out to me today - "Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him half enough?" Can you list all of the glorious miracles of God? Can anyone? Are you praising God today? Every day?
Verse 3 is powerful- "Happy are those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." I think this is such an important thing to know - we will be happy when we deal justly with others and when we do what is right. This is happiness. Not money or fame or power or luxuries. Dealing justly with others and doing what is right is happiness. So, Biblically, are you happy?
Proverbs - Proverbs 27 verse 6 is an interesting one. And indeed true. "Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." Why should we watch out for many kisses from an enemy? Let us thank God for a friend who will speak truth into our life! Even if it hurts at first to hear it. Think about this - is someone being a better friend to you if they tell you a truth about your life that may wound you - or if they say nothing at all and let you keep on keepin' on with something wrong you may be doing? Let us embrace and welcome truthful wounds from our friends! We need this type of iron sharpening iron. Sometimes we need to be lovingly and truthfully wounded by our friends to grow closer to God.
Worship Video: Ezekiel 16:6's call to "Live!" reminded me of Casting Crowns wonderful worship tune called "Lifesong." Let this be our prayer today - "Let my lifesong sing to you!"
Is your lifesong singing to God? Click here and start singing!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you trust wounds from your friends. Pray that you are a friend that wounds others, in a trustworthy way, to move them away from sins and toward godliness. Pray that you are wary of kisses from an enemy.
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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