Ezekiel 16:42-17:24 + Hebrews 8:1-13 + Psalm 106:13-31 + Proverbs 27:7-9
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Old Testament - Ezekiel chapter 16 compares the sins of Jerusalem to those of Sodom! These are bold comparisons, as you know the story of Sodom and the wipeout there. The Israelites were in relationship with God - they should have known better - hence the Sodom comparison. Verse 49 stood out to me in this chapter "Sodom's sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door." The interesting thing to note is that Sodom's social injustice sins are highlighted here - rather that their sexual sins. Sodom was not taking care of the poor. And nor was Jerusalem at this time of the 6th century B.C. What about in our world today? Are there poor and needy suffering outside our door today? Are we not taking care of them because of our pride, laziness, or gluttony? Where is our "door"? Who is our neighbor? What will you do?
Ezekiel chapter 17 is a great story of the two eagles! This is basically a story of the city of Jerusalem's vacillating foreign policy between Babylon and Egypt. The first eagle is King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the treaty Jerusalem makes w/ Babylon is in the story. Then, the second eagle represents a pharaoh from Egypt, whom Jerusalem makes another treaty with subsequently, which goes against Babylon. The bad part of this is that the Babylon treaty was sworn to by the king of Jerusalem/Judah in the Lord's name - then broken. This is a very bad idea to swear something in the Lord's name and then not uphold it... Below is a map to give you a quick snapshot of the Babylonian empire, Judah, and Egypt at this time:
The close of this chapter is phenomenal when it takes a Messianic turn, foreshadowing Jesus in verses 22 and 23: "And the Sovereign LORD says: I will take a tender shoot from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel's highest mountain. It will become a noble cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter beneath its branches." Do these verses sound like Jesus to you?
New Testament - Hebrews chapter 8 is awesome in that it dives into some verses we read recently in the book of Jeremiah about the new covenant! Verse 3 stands out: "And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too." What was the offering Christ made for our sins? Verse 13 stands out too: "When God speaks of a new covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and ready to be put aside." Something I learned recently - the old / first covenant referred to in this chapter is the "Sinaitic" covenant and not the Abrahamic covenant - the difference being not the promise to Abraham that his descendants will outnumber the stars in the sky and God will be our God and we his people (the Abrahamic covenant) - but the "Sinaitic" covenant are the laws given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and in the desert for how the Israelites were to live - including how priests would make sacrifices for sin. The Abrahamic covenant still stands today - the Sinaitic covenant is now out of date and ready to be put aside because it was completed by the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Our High Priest who offered His life for our lives.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 106:19-21 we read: “At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt.” This of course sounds very familiar to Romans chapter 1 verses 22 and 23: "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." Was this wise that the Israelites exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull? Why did they do this? What should have been their Glory? What is your Glory today? Do you, at times, exchange your true Glory for something else? Is this wise? Are you forgetting the God who saved you? The God who has done great things for you? Please don’t ever exchange the true Glory for a false idol!
Verse 13 in this Psalm also stands out: "Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn't wait for his counsel!" Is this true of us? Do we forget or take for granted all of the blessings God has poured out into our lives? In doing so, do we decide to take matters into our own hands - not waiting on God's counsel for our direction? Will we remember? Will we wait? Patiently...?
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs 27 verse 8 we read: "A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest." Where is our spiritual home? Who is our spiritual home? Have we strayed from our spiritual nest? As I read this I of course think about our relationship with Jesus first - and then manifestation of his body in the local church as being our spiritual home. And I realize that if I do not attend church on a weekly basis, I am like a bird straying from its nest. Our prime home is Jesus – we do not want to stray from our relationship with Him, ever. It’s far too risky to do so, for obvious reasons. But I think we can sometimes feel like we don’t need Jesus’ body, his church. We feel like we can do life fine without church. I submit to you that this is far too risky of a way to live life. I am just afraid that if we stray away from the nest of our local church, then we are at risk of potentially straying away from Jesus. We need the church. We need Jesus. Are you going to church each week these days? Do you think you should? If there is one thing I can encourage you on, almost more than anything, is to please find a local church where Jesus is clearly the cornerstone and the Bible is clearly taught. And then please do not stray away from that nest. . . I cannot encourage you enough on this point. I love the church so very much. I pray that you do as well. (It brings tears to my eyes to even try to think of my life without the church – I cannot imagine it. I pray this is the case for you as well . . .)
Worship Video: Today's readings in Hebrews reminded me of Matthew West's song "Save a Place for me:"
Have you taken the place at the table God has saved for you? Click here and sit down!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are a friend that brings pleasantness with heartfelt advice. Pray that you receive heartfelt advice from pleasant friends too.
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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