Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15: Ezekiel 31 – 32; Psalm 113 – 114; Proverbs 27:18-20; Hebrews 12:14-29



Overview

            Ezekiel: On the first of the third month of the 11th year, the Lord told Ezekiel to speak to Pharaoh and his many people. Who do you think you are? Look at how great Assyria was, like a giant cedar tree. It was beautiful, but God made it that way, an envy of the trees of Eden. Because of its pride, the Lord gave it to a ruthless nation to cut it down and destroy it. It is an example to all who exalt themselves. He cast it down to Sheol and the nations quaked when it happened. All in Lebanon went with it by the sword. Therefore, Egypt, are you as great as this among the trees of Eden. No, you will be brought down also.
            On the first of the 12th month of the 12th year, the Lord told Ezekiel to speak a lamentation over Pharaoh. You think you rule nations like a lion, but you are a dragon that just causes problems. The Lord will catch you and dump you on land. There animals will eat and scatter your carcass all over the country. You won’t be able to see the sun, moon, or stars where you are going. People in many nations will be terrified when it happens that the Lord will do this with his sword, the king of Babylon. His army will bring ruin on Egypt when the Lord makes Egypt desolate, killing all in it. They will know that God is the Lord. The nations will chant this lamentation over Egypt.
            On the 15th of the 12th month of the 12th year, the Lord told Ezekiel to wail over Egypt and send them to the world below. They think they more beautiful than others, but not in the grave. All the people from the greatest to the least will go down to Sheol. They will be in the company of Assyria, Elam, Meshech-Tubal, Edom, princes of the north, and Sidonians all who are in the grave slain by the sword for their various sins. They lie with the uncircumcised. Those who are left alive will live in terror, but Pharaoh will be comforted in the grave by all these dead people with him.
            Psalm 113: God is to be praised by all his servants. His name is to be praised forever and all day long. He is praised because he is sovereign over nations and everything in heaven. There is no one like him. He sees all things in heaven and on the earth. He is sovereign over the lives of people exalting the poor and giving the barren woman children.
            Psalm 114: Judah is the sanctuary of God when Israel left Egypt. The sea and Jordan parted. The mountains shook. Why did the these happen? It was the presence of the Lord who provided water out of rocks.
            Proverbs: Doing your job well provides for your needs like eating the fruit of the tree you tend or getting honor by protecting your master. What’s in your heart is a reflection of what kind of a person you are just like water reflects your face. Hell and destruction are never satisfied and neither are the lustful eyes of a man.
            Hebrews: We need to try to be peaceable and holy. If we aren’t holy, we won’t see the Lord. So, we need to have God’s grace and eliminate bitterness that cause problems. We are to be sexually moral and not ungodly like Esau. He saw instant gratification better than his birthright. Once he had given it up, there was no way for him to get it back.
            We are not coming to God on the mountain who appeared with such fearsome physical manifestation that the people trembled and asked not to hear any more from him. Instead, we are coming to God in heaven with a multitude of angels leading joyful festivities. We are coming along with all the others who belong to Jesus and are already there. We are coming to those who are made perfect by Jesus who is the mediator of our new covenant through his blood, which is better than Abel’s blood.
            We better not refuse to listen to him. Those who didn’t listen when he came on the mountain didn’t escape when they rejected him. We won’t escape if we refuse to listen to him from heaven. Before, his voice shook the earth and he will shake it again. When that happens, temporary things will be removed to reveal that that is eternal. We should be grateful to receive an eternal kingdom and offer God correct worship and awe. He is a consuming fire.

What Stood Out

            Ezekiel: “When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord God” (Ezek 32:31).
            Psalm: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Ps 114:7).
            Proverbs: “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man” (Prov 27:20).
            Hebrews: “For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest” (Heb 12:18).

Insight

            Ezekiel: I can see why some people think that they can joke about what it will be like in hell. They have hope that hell won’t be as bad as the Bible says. The Lord even tells Pharaoh that he will be comforted by all the other people who have been slain by the sword and ended up in the grave. They are said to be with the uncircumcised, meaning they are not saved.
            Of course, we know that this isn’t real comfort because hell is a forever torment. Jesus made it clear when he said of people who won’t radically remove sin, they are “to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’” (Mark 9:47-48). Those who are hoping it won’t be that bad are simply trying to find a reason to keep on doing what they want and ignore God. Look at the number of times God warned Egypt. It started on the 12th of the 10th month of the 10th year (Ezek 29:1). It was repeated several times and lastly on the first of the first month of the 27th year (Ezek 29:17). We’ve read of other warning in the 11th year (Ezek 30:20; 31:1) and the 12th year (Ezek 32:1, 17). Don’t ask me why these are not in order, that isn’t important. Over a period of 17 year, Egypt had time to repent but they didn’t.
            Each one of us has a lifetime to repent and come to Jesus for salvation. There will little comfort for those who don’t when they find themselves in the company of Pharaoh and others who have rejected God.
            Psalm: As time marches on, we forget the way the Lord appeared to Israel after they came out of Egypt. The description of the smoking mountain and the quaking earth would make anyone stand in terror of the Lord. We really should think more about it. While we know that Jesus is our friend, he is also the Lord who came down on the mountain. It was God, the Trinity that caused the mountain to smoke and tremble.
            As Christians, we have this awesome privilege of calling God the Father, “Abba.” However, we should not forget that his glorious presence causes even inanimate object to tremble and burn before him. When we are aware of this, we can praise him even more for the riches of his mercy and grace he has given us in Jesus.
            Proverbs: We often try to cover up what kind of people we are. But we can’t hide it from the Lord. He looks at our heart and see exactly what kind of a person we are. When we have Jesus in our hearts, we know that God sees him. Our actions and our lives should then be a reflection of Jesus instead of our selfish nature. That nature is never satisfied. It always wants more. When we yield that nature to Jesus we will find our satisfaction in our Lord instead of the things we seen in the world.
            Hebrews: Again, we need to remember that God is a consuming fire, but he is also the one who has brought us into his presences by the blood of Jesus. We can come to him in confidence, not like those who saw his glory on mount Sinai and were freaked out by it. We are looking forward to the New Jerusalem and the joy of eternal salvation. His kingdom can’t be shaken and we are confident of that.
            Yet we have some warnings because not everyone knows Jesus and have been washed in his blood. One warning is that only holy people will see God. That means being sexually pure and not being ungodly like Esau. His example is placing more importance on things on earth than the heavenly things. His example shows that once life is over, there won’t be any way to change our circumstances even if we plead with tears. We have to know Jesus now if we want to join the Lord forever.

Application

             Today is a lot of warnings about the possibility of going to hell. I’ve put my trust in Jesus so that is not a concern for me. However, to be faithful, I must be warning others that life without Jesus will be eternity without him also.

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