Friday, November 24, 2017

November 24: Ezekiel 47 – 48; Psalm 119:49-64; Proverbs 28:12-13; 1 Peter 2:11-3:7



Overview

            Ezekiel: The man who was doing the measuring took Ezekiel to the door of the temple and water was coming out below the threshold. The water flowed out under the east gate and toward the Dead Sea. The man measured off 1,000 cubits (1,500 feet) and the water was ankle deep. He measured another 1,000 cubits and the water was knee-deep. He measured another 1,000 cubits and the water was waist-deep. He measured another 1,000 cubits and the water was a river too deep to cross.
            The man explained that the water would go to the Dead Sea and cause the salt water to become fresh and fish would thrive. Fishermen will catch fish along the shore. Fruit trees were growing along the river. They will produce fruit every month and their leaves will never wither.
            The Lord gave the boundaries of Israel from the north to the south, from the Mediterranean on the west and the boundaries on the east. Each of the tribes will have a slice of the land from the east to the west. The exception is the area listed for the prince, the temple, the Levites, and the priest. These were explained earlier, and more detail is provided about the city. The city will contain workers from all tribes of Israel and it will be in the center of a strip of land 25,000 cubits east and west and 5,000 cubit north and south. It will be 4,500 cubits square (6750 feet). The city will be called “THE LORD IS THERE.”
            Psalm: The Psalmist gets hope and comfort from God’s word so he doesn’t turn away even when insulted. It makes him angry when he sees wicked people ignore God’s laws. But he keeps them and has blessings.
            He claims God for his very own and promises to keep the Lord’s words. He then asks the Lord to be gracious to him as he considers his ways and doesn’t delay in obedience. Even when the wicked surround him, he praises the Lord in the night. He hangs out with others who fear the Lord. The earth is full of God’s love but he still needs the Lord to teach him.
            Proverbs: People rejoice when righteous people win a victory. However, when wicked people take over, people hide. Hiding sins results in spiritual poverty but confessing and forsaking sins results in receiving mercy.
            1 Peter: We need to stay away from indulging our passions because we are here only temporarily and those things war against our souls. Our conduct should be honorable so that evil people will praise God when Jesus comes. We need to be subject to our governments, local and federal. They reward the good and punish evil. God wants us to do good so foolish people will be silenced. We need to be good servant of God not using our freedom to justify evil. That means honoring people and leaders as well as loving other Christians.
            Suffering can come from employers (masters). We should remember that when we suffer unjustly, God give us grace. We are called to suffer just as Christ suffered for us as an example to follow. He didn’t sin, didn’t seek revenge, didn’t threaten but trusted God who judges correctly. He suffered for our sins in his body when crucified so we can kill sin in our lives and life righteously. By his wounds, we are healed. We went our own way like sheep but now have returned to Jesus our Shepherd and Guardian of our souls.
            Wives are to be subject to their husbands even if they aren’t believers. They may come to Christ after seeing their wives’ godly lives. Wives should not make their outward appearance more important then their inward beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which God sees as precious. In the past, women who honored God did this when they, like Sarah, submitted to their husbands. You are Sarah’s children if you do good and don’t freak out about things.
            Husbands must behave in the same way and be understanding of their wives. They should show honor to their wives as weaker vessels who are also heirs of life. Doing this will keep your prayers from being hindered.

What Stood Out

            Ezekiel: “As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other” (Ezek 47:7).
            Psalm: “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning” (Ps 119:54).
            Proverbs: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Prov 28:13).
            1 Peter: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

Insight

            Ezekiel: The temple in the millennium will have water flowing from it that has similarities to the river of life flowing from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven (Rev 22:1-2). The main similarities are the trees on either side of the rivers and that the rivers produce life. The millennium river produces life by supporting the trees on either side and turning salt water into fresh so that fish thrive in the Dead Sea. The trees along each river produce fruit every month but the leaves of the trees by river of life are for the healing of the nations.
            The differences are that the river of life flows through the city but the one in the millennium doesn’t. The river of life comes from the throne of God and the millennium one comes from the temple. There is no temple in the New Jerusalem.
            The river from the temple, while being a literal description of what we will see in the millennium also presents a symbolic interpretation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit and said that rivers of living water would flow from anyone who believes in him (John 7:38-39). In the same way that we are changed by the Holy Spirit. We put away our old natures and bear fruit of the Holy Spirit. We get rid of the bitter or salty language that should not come from our mouths and replace it with words that bless instead of curse (James 3:10-11). In the same way that the fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea and catch fish, when we have the Holy Spirit, we can cast into the dead sea of this world and catch men (Mark 1:17). Of course, it is the Holy Spirit who makes those fish alive in the first place.
            Psalm: We need to remember that this life and this earth are not our normal place of residence. We are made for something greater. We are made for heaven. Even the millennium, which sounds idyllic is still not our final home. While we live here, all the values of this temporal world accost us. They try to drag us away from the life that God wants us to live and bring glory to him. David says this and recognized one thing that helped him was singing. His songs were God’s own words and laws. In the same way, we can sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to each other and to ourselves (Col 3:16). If you haven’t tuned into a Christian music station or played Christian music instead of listening to the news or the pundits on the radio or TV, then you are missing a great way to live a peaceful life.
            Proverbs: People who hide sins are of two types. There are those who are not saved and will not admit their sins and there are Christians who sin and don’t want to let others know about it. Neither of these will prosper spiritually. The first will not be saved and their spiritual poverty is forever. The second find spiritual poverty in their current lives. They suffer the consequence of their sins in their relationships with other and they lack fellowship with the Lord. The first must confess and forsake for salvation and the rest of us must confess and forsake if we want to have a meaningful relationship with the Lord.
            1 Peter: Peter also reminds us that we are not made for this world. We are only here for a short time. When we are here, we need to live like people who are belong to God. That includes everything from the way we live in subjection to rulers, other people (both evil and righteous), and other Christians. The most important people we should live honorably with are our spouses. Again, this means whether spouses are believers or not. When they are Christians, we should keep that in mind and remember that we are all one in Christ.
            Some people get all wrapped up in the issues of submission and distort what God really wants in a relationship between husband and wife. When we first view our spouse as an heir of salvation, then the proper roles of respect and love will be fulfilled. We won’t have to tell a wife to be subject to her husband or a husband to honor his wife. These things will be natural. Paul spoke a lot about this but his introduction to the subject was for everyone to submit to one another out of our reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21). When mixing this and Philippians 2:4 into the equation, then we will pay attention to each other’s needs instead of putting our own first.

Application

            I want to live like this isn’t my eternal home, because it isn’t. Hopefully that frees me from looking out for myself first in all relationships.

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