Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10: Ezekiel 21 – 22; Psalm 108; Proverbs 27:12; Hebrews 10:1-18



Overview

            Ezekiel: The Lord told Ezekiel to prophecy about Jerusalem and its temples saying he will kill both the righteous and the wicked. All people will know he is the Lord when his sword kill them. Ezekiel is told to groan about this and tell the people how people will faint and groan about what is coming, the Lord’s sword. It will be sharp and kill princes. Since they didn’t repent at lesser punishment, this will happen to them. The Lord describes the sword in various way and Ezekiel is told to clap for each strike of the sword. The Lord will clap his hands and satisfy his fury.
            The king of Babylon will stop at a fork in the road to use divination to determine if he should attack Rabbah in Amon or Jerusalem. The signs will point to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will think it is a false sign because they have a treaty with Babylon. But Babylon will remind them of their guilt. Therefore, they shall be defeated. The king of Judah is profane and will be made low, losing his crown. All will be made a ruin.
            As for Ammon that thought it would escape the sword, the Lord will bring them to judgment also. They will never be remembered again.
            Ezekiel is to tell Jerusalem the Lord’s judgment. They shed blood and make idols. Her time will come and the nations will mock her. The rulers of Israel have been shedding blood and oppressing the poor. Others in the city worship idols and commit lewd acts. Sexual perversion is rampant. They have forgotten the Lord. They make dishonest gain by their bloodshed. The Lord will scatter them among the nations and cleanse them in order that they will know he is the Lord.
            The Lord will gather them in Jerusalem and blow his fire on them to melt them. They are like dross and will be melted like metal in a furnace to purify it. Then they will know he is the Lord.
            The prophets have conspired to devour human lives, take treasures, and make widows. The priests profane the holy things and violently disobey the Law. They don’t teach the difference between holy and profane. They disregard the Sabbaths. The princes kill for dishonest gain. The prophet back up the atrocities of the princes with false visions. All the people oppress the poor and sojourners. The Lord looked for one man to intercede for him, but he didn’t find anyone. So, he has poured out his wrath on them and paid them for their sins what they did to others.
            Psalm: David proclaims that he will steadfastly praise and thank God for his love and faithfulness with song from the time he wakes in the morning. He asks for God to be exalted and his glory cover the earth along with deliverance for his people. He recounts God’s promise to exalt Israel’s tribes and have triumph over Moab, Edom, and Philistia. David wants to know who will help him fight Edom because God has rejected them and hasn’t gone out with David’s armies. He asks for help from the Lord because man can’t help him but only with God can they have victory.
            Proverbs: If you are smart, you will avoid danger. If you aren’t, you’ll walk right into it and suffer because of it.
            Hebrews: The Law was only an outline of what was to come in the new covenant. The sacrifices couldn’t make anyone perfect, signified by the fact that they never stopped but continued every year. They reminded people of sin instead of clearing their conscience. The blood of animals can’t take away sin.
            When Christ came he said God didn’t want offerings and sacrifices, but provided a body for him and wanted him to do God’s will, which Christ agreed to do. This establishes the change from the law of sacrifices for sanctification to being sanctified though Jesus’ offering of his body once for all.
            Priests offer sacrifices daily that can’t take away sins. But Christ offered his one sacrifice and then sat down at the right hand of God. He is waiting for all his enemies to be put under his feet. His offering makes perfect everyone who is being sanctified regardless of when they live. The Holy Spirit spoke of this when the Lord said he would make a new covenant with them and write his laws on their hearts and minds. In addition, he says he will no longer remember their sins. Since the sins are forgiven, there is no need for an offering.

What Stood Out

            Ezekiel: “Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezek 22:26).
            Psalm: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Ps 108:5).
            Proverbs: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Prov 27:12).
            Hebrews: “But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year” (Heb 10:3).

Insight

            Ezekiel: The indictments against Jerusalem just keep coming. The predictions of destruction keep coming. It has been about two years since Ezekiel’s first vision and the Lord has been warning them also by Jeremiah who is in Jerusalem. We sometimes forget that these changes in a nation don’t happen all at once and God’s warning come over time as well. At some point, they reach a climax and his fury is released.
            There are too many similarities between Jerusalem and our nation to think that we will not escape God’s judgment. The princes, the rulers, the people who had the power were exploiting the poor people and foreigners in the land. I read about the proposed tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the poor and aged. I wonder if we aren’t doing the same thing. I read about the way the people are against the sojourners in the land and wonder if our immigration policies are not just as bad or worse. I read about the priests’ failure to teach what is holy and what is profane and I don’t even need to wonder about this. We have too many churches that teach sexual perversion is good and respectable as long as the people “love” each other. On the other hand, they don’t become upset or teach against killing babies in the womb. They would rather save a whale than a baby.
            We need to listen to what God says and not what is said by the media, twitter, facebook, politicians of any brand, or false teachers. We need to start making our decisions based on the word of God and not excuse leaders who speak and act corruptly, who care more about their getting reelected than carrying out justice, who line their pockets and oppress the poor. We probably won’t change them, but we can change ourselves to live godly lives in this evil generation.
            Psalm: David didn’t always have success in all of his battles. After a defeat, he still looks to the Lord in praise and worship. He didn’t lose his faith in God and his promises even though he doesn’t know at this time why it appears God wasn’t with him. The one thing he does know is that depending on man is vain.
            We can turn to this Psalm when life seems to be overwhelming and learn that trusting the Lord even in hard times is the only way to get through them with our sanity intact. When we make it a point to praise and give thanks to God from the beginning of the day to the end, we will have the steadfastness of God’s strength to continue.
            Trust that God’s great plan is always going in the direction he wants. Remember that all that is going on in our time and in our country is still working together to bring glory to God over all the earth.
            Proverbs: Whether it is danger or sin, we often don’t recognize it when we see it. However, when we do see it, we should have the sense to avoid it. This is especially true for sin. With danger, there may be a good reason to approach it, especially if you’re trying to help others. However, there is never a good reason to see sin and jump into it. We’ll only suffer for it.
            Hebrews: The author continues to make points in his argument that the new covenant is superior to the old. Much of what is said is rewording what we’ve already read. We see the phrase “once for all” repeated often in regard for Jesus’ sacrifice for sins (Heb 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10). By now, this should be ingrained in our minds. Jesus will never be sacrificed again and there will never be any valid animal sacrifices for sin either.
            Jesus’ sacrifice was predetermined before the world began (Acts 2:23). Preparation for this was announced as the author quotes from the Septuagint’s Psalm 40:6.[1] Jesus followed God’s will by dying on the cross for our sins. The animals didn’t die of their own free will and their bodies were not the incarnation of God. They could not make anyone perfect nor could they take away sins. The best they could do was cover them, and that only for a year. Jesus’ sacrifice makes us perfectly acceptable to the Father and it takes away our sins.
            In addition, God said he would never remember sins when he has written his law on our hearts and minds. The author explains that this is forgiveness and when something is forgiven, then there is no need for any more offerings for sin. Since Jesus died once for all sins, he doesn’t need to be sacrificed again for sins and neither do any animals.

Application

             I need to remember that I don’t have to live like the rest of the nation. I don’t have to think like them or act like them. I should be concentrating on living a godly life and not by peoples’ expectations that don’t match up with God’s word, even if they are Christians.


[1] Though the original Hebrew does not say a body was prepared for him, the Holy Spirit is in charge of all Scripture including quotes from the Septuagint that don’t match the original Hebrew.

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