Sunday, November 12, 2017

November 12: Ezekiel 24 – 26; Psalm 110; Proverbs 27:14; Hebrews 11:1-16



Overview

            Ezekiel: On the 10th of the 10th month of the 9th year, the Lord told Ezekiel to write down the date because the king of Babylon was starting his siege against Jerusalem. He was also to tell the people a parable. The parable describes Jerusalem as a cooking pot with meat inside it. The pot has corrosion in it with both good and bad meat in it. The meat will be taken out indiscriminately. The pot will be heated until the bones and the corrosion are burned up. It is on account of Jerusalem’s lewdness that it will be cleansed. The Lord will not relent and it will happen.
            The Lord told Ezekiel his wife was about to die and he should not mourn. Ezekiel told the people, that night his wife died, and he obeyed the Lord. The people asked what it meant. The Lord answered that he was taking away the people’s delight, the temple and their relatives they left behind in Jerusalem. They shall not mourn but rot in their sins. When it happens, they will know he is the Lord. From that time until a fugitive comes from Jerusalem to report the news, Ezekiel will be mute.
            Ezekiel was commanded by the Lord to prophecy destruction against Ammon, Moab, Seir, Edom, and Philistia. Ammon’s destruction will come upon them because they rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Moab and Seir’s destruction comes because they thought Judah was just like other nations. Edom and Philistia’s destruction comes because they took vengeance on Judah.
            On the first of the month of the 11th year, the Lord gave Ezekiel a prophecy about Tyre because they thought they could plunder Jerusalem now that its gates were broken. Nations will come against Tyre, tear it down and scrape all of it away so that it will become a place for spreading nets.
            Nebuchadnezzar will come against Tyre with many warriors. His battering rams will break down the walls, his axes will break its towers. He will kill everyone and take the plunder. The nations after him will cast everything into the sea leaving nothing but bare rock. All the remaining coastlands will be terrified at this. All their princes will tremble at this and raise a lament for Tyre. When all this happens, the Lord will make the waters cover Tyre as the people go down below with others who have died. They will have a dreadful end.
            Psalm: David sets forth traits of the Messiah. He is the Lord. He will rule over all. His saints will willingly do battle for him. He is eternal. He is a priest forever. He will judge the nations
            Proverbs: Be careful how and when to pronounce a blessing on someone or they can take it wrong.
            Hebrews: Faith is defined as being sure of what you don’t even see for example, God created the visible universe out of the invisible by his word. The ancients were commended for their faith. Abel’s gifts were offered in faith and accepted. Enoch escaped death for pleasing God. It isn’t possible to please God without faith that he exists and rewards those who seek him. Noah believed and condemned the unbelieving world by build the ark. He was declared righteous by his faith. Abraham exhibited his faith by obeying God and moving to the promised land but not owning it. Isaac and Jacob also had the same promise. Sarah had faith and conceived. Through Abraham and Sara’s faith they have innumerable descendants.
            They never received the promise when they were alive. They looked to the future and believed. If they hadn’t they could have returned to their homeland. They were desiring a better place in heaven and were aliens on earth. As a result, God is not ashamed of them and has prepared a city for them.

What Stood Out

            Ezekiel: “I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets” (Ezek 26:14).
            Psalm: “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4).
            Proverbs: “Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
will be counted as cursing” (Prov 27:14).
            Hebrews: “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (Heb 11:16).

Insight

            Ezekiel: Ezekiel is one of the better documented books of the Bible regarding dates. In chapter 26, he states the date as the beginning of the 11th year referring to Jehoiachin’s captivity (Ezek 1:2). This would be about 586 BC. The prophecy against Tyre is one that covers several centuries. It begins by stating that many nations will come against Tyre (Ezek 26:3) and that the eventual end for Tyre will be the bottom of the sea (Ezek 26:5, 19).
            Tyre was actually built in two parts. The city was on the coast with a good harbor that caused it to be the central seaport and accounted for its significant trade and wealth. This wealth can be seen in the way both David and Solomon turned to Hiram for help in their building projects. Unfortunately, that wealth and trade corrupted the city and led to the Lord pronouncing judgement upon it. The city had two parts, one on the mainland and the second part of the city was built on an island a short distance offshore. This island city was considered impregnatable because its walls were build out to the sea without any beach. It didn’t allow any battering rams to reach it.
            The first attack against the city was Nebuchadnezzar. He spent 13 years trying to break down the walls of the mainland city. He didn’t completely destroy the city, that was the job of future nations. In Ezekiel 26:12, the narrative of the prophecy changes from he (Nebuchadnezzar) to they (the nations). In Ezekiel 29:18, 16 years later, the Lord told Ezekiel that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t get anything for all his work against Tyre.
            Other nations attacked and defeated the mainland city but the island city of Tyre wasn’t captured until 332 BC when Alexander the Great scraped all the rocks and building material from the mainland part of the city to build a causeway out to the island city. It was reported in AD 1170 that the old city could be seen under the sea establishing that the complete prophecy was fulfilled including that the city would never be rebuilt. Even today, fishermen spread their nets on what was once part of the old city.
            This prophecy is significant because it is so well documented it points out that only a sovereign, omniscient God could predict this with details and make sure it came true. The odds that the prediction of the island city’s capture could have happened in this way is astronomical. When I read about this before becoming a Christian, it was one of several well-documented prophecies that convinced me the Bible is true.
            My next challenge was what to do with the predictions of Jesus and what would I do if he came back today. The only thing I could do was believe in Jesus as the Bible tells us. He is God in the flesh, my Savior, my Lord, and when he comes back, I’ll be eagerly awaiting him.
            It has been many years since I read about this prophecy. I had to refresh the dates and circumstance and found what I needed for this insight along with more details written by Kyle Butt, M.Div., "Tyre in Prophecy," Apologetics Press, 2006, accessed November 12, 2017, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1790.
            Psalm: Jesus used verse one to stump the educated Jews who wanted to deny he was the Messiah. He proclaimed that the Messiah was equal with God. This is one of the fundamental truths of Christianity. No one can honestly be a Christian if he thinks Jesus is someone other than God the Son one member of the Trinity. Having just read Hebrew’s explanation about Jesus being the priest after the order of Melchizedek, we know that he is also a priest forever. That means he offered the perfect sacrifice for our sins, his own life. Since the Messiah is priest forever, that means he is still alive and interceding for us.
            Proverbs: I’ve seen people “bless” others that certainly didn’t sound like a blessing. One was a man being drug into court by his ex-wife. He told her to have a blessed day when he saw her. He was trying to put 1 Peter 3:9 into practice by blessing instead of returning evil for evil. His tone and his body language didn’t match his words. I’m sure his ex regarded it as a curse. Blessings need to be genuine if they are to be true.
            Hebrews: What is your desire? Is it the New Jerusalem in heaven? Hebrews points to several Old Testament saints and declares they were looking forward to a new home in heaven. They were aliens on earth because their allegiance was to God and not the things of the world. If we don’t have the same attitude as this, then there is something wrong with our faith. It is misplaced if we have more regard or desire to achieve things on earth than we do getting to heaven. Abraham was obedient to the Lord’s call to move. If we aren’t obedient to God’s call on us to live godly lives and work for his kingdom, then what are we really doing with our faith?
            Not everyone is called to be Abraham and move. Not everyone is called to build an ark. But we are all called to have faith in Jesus and then do the works that he has prepared for us. We may have very secular jobs and live in secular communities. However, if we are not living as people who don’t belong to the world – aliens – then we have to examine our faith.

Application

             When I discovered the Bible was true, I started looking for Jesus’ return. I didn’t want to miss him coming again. The only way to really do that was to yield to his lordship over my life. Faith in Jesus turned me from a completely worldly person with my citizenship on earth to an other-worldly person. I haven’t been perfect and won’t be until I reach that heavenly city. But yearning to get there is part of being an alien on earth and also what helps keep me working on being a better Christian.

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