Monday, November 6, 2017

November 6: Ezekiel 14:12 – 16:42; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 27:4-6; Hebrews 7:18-28



Overview

            Ezekiel: The Lord tells Ezekiel that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in a land when he destroys it because of its sins, they would only be able to save themselves. Their righteousness would not spare the unrighteous, even their own children. Therefore, it will be even worse for Jerusalem. However, there will be some survivors. When they recognize their sins, Ezekiel will be consoled for and he will know that it wasn’t without cause that the Lord destroyed Jerusalem.
            A vine is useless for anything but being burned. After it is burned, it is even less useful. This is the way the inhabitants of Jerusalem are. The Lord has set his face against them and even if they escape the fire, the fire will still consume them, and Ezekiel will know God is the Lord. It happens because of their unfaithfulness.
            The Lord compares Jerusalem to a newborn girl who was thrown away upon birth. The Lord saw and made her live and flourish. When she became old enough, the Lord betrothed her, clothed her with fine garments and jewelry. She became famous in all the nations. But she trusted in her beauty and became a prostitute using all that the Lord had given her for her idols. She also took her children that the Lord gave her and sacrificed hem in to the idols. She didn’t remember her youth when she was abandoned.
            She also built temples for her idols and became a prostitute with other nations provoking the Lord to anger. Indeed, she really wasn’t a prostitute because she didn’t accept payment. Instead she gave gifts and payment to her lovers.
            Because of all these things, the Lord will gather her lovers against her. They will break down all the idol’s temples and break all the idols. They will stone her and burn her houses and execute judgment on her. Then his anger will be satisfied.
            Psalm: We are called to praise the Lord and give thanks to him for his love endures forever. Yet, there is no way we can completely tell all his deeds or adequately praise him. But we will be blessed when we act justly and righteously.
            We should ask the Lord to show us favor so we can see him save others and prosper his nation. We should rejoice at seeing that.
            The Psalmist confesses his sins and those of his ancestors who were living in Egypt. Even though they sinned, he saved them out of Egypt for his name’s sake. He brought them through the Red Sea but drowned their enemies.
            Proverbs: Jealousy is harder to bear than anger that is cruel and devastating. Hidden love is worthless so, open rebuke accomplishes more. When a fiend hurts you out of faithfulness it will result in good, but the fake demonstrations of love by an enemy isn’t doesn’t.
            Hebrews: The Law could not make anything perfect and is therefore weak and useless. It is set aside. It is replaced with a better hope by which we can draw close to God. The new hope came with an oath unlike the former priests. Jesus became a priest forever by God’s sworn oath to not change his mind. Therefore, Jesus is able to guarantee that the new covenant is better.
            The old covenant needed many priests because they kept dying. But Jesus lives forever and is a priest forever. So, he is able to completely save those who come to God through him. He is always there to make intercession. This is the kind of priest we need, one who is perfect in holiness and not a sinner, exalted in heaven. The other priest had to offer sacrifice every day for themselves and the other people. But Jesus did this once for all when he sacrificed himself. The Law appointed weak priests, but the oath came after the law and appointed a Son who is perfect forever.

What Stood Out

            Ezekiel: “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God” (Ezek 14:14).
            Psalm: “Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power” (Ps 106:8).
            Proverbs: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Prov 27:5).
            Hebrews: “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (Heb 7:27).

Insight

            Ezekiel: We are all probably familiar with Noah, Daniel, and Job, who the Lord calls righteous. But he tells us very clearly that their righteousness couldn’t save anyone other than themselves. In this example, the Lord is talking of physical salvation from punishment during their lives, not eternal salvation. In ways, this applies also to eternal punishment. We can’t find salvation based on another person’s righteousness except Jesus’ perfect righteousness. Even these three couldn’t save their souls from eternal punishment because it is clear from scripture that no one is perfect, not even these three (Rom 3:23).
            When it comes down to it, we are more like Jerusalem and less like Noah, Daniel, or Job than we would like to admit. The description of Jerusalem in chapter 16 is applicable to all of us. We were born in sin and if the Lord had not made us alive with Jesus, we would still be dead in our sins. He has blessed us in the spiritual realms with every blessing in Christ. He has also blessed us with many physical blessings. What do we do? We may not be as blatant as Jerusalem, but we do have idols in our hearts. We spend way too much time and money on thing that are not eternal. We seek happiness in things that were never designed by God to bring us happiness but to point us to the one who can give us real joy. As we abide in Jesus’ love and are obedient to him, we will have his joy (John 15:9-11). We don’t want to be like Jerusalem and waste our lives on things that don’t bring true happiness.
            Psalm: There isn’t any way that we can adequately praise God. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t praise him. One of the biggest reasons to praise him is because he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. As the Psalmist points out, God saves us despite our sins. He doesn’t save us because we are righteous or just, because we aren’t. He saves us for his own name’s sake. This is a reoccurring theme in the Bible. God does things for his glory because there is nothing greater that his glory. It makes us realize that God’s infinite glory is something that we really can’t understand. However, we can rest in the knowledge that what brings glory to God is also best for us.
            Proverbs: What good is it if you love someone but never show it? Is that really love? Love must result in some kind of actions or it is useless. John told us that if we really know what love is when we are ready to give our lives for others. It can be seen  in what we do when we see other people in need and have the ability to help them. If we don’t help, then we have to legitimately question if we have God’s love in us. We need to love in deeds and in truth (1 John 3:16-18).
            Hebrews: Today we get to see the reasons that Jesus is our high priest forever. The first reason is that the old covenant with the priests and sacrifices couldn’t make anyone perfect. The priests were not perfect and had to sacrifice daily and even then, they had to sacrifice for themselves before they could sacrifice for the people. In contrast, Jesus is sinless, perfect, and completely righteous and therefore, he only had to offer one sacrifice, himself, that would last for all time and is sufficient to make perfect, that is, save us.
            Another reason is that in the old covenant, the priest kept dying. But Jesus was appointed priest with an oath that he would never die and therefore is always available to make intercession for us.
            Under the new covenant, we don’t have to make sacrifices or our sin because Jesus made the once-for-all sacrifice for sins. That means the sins we committed before becoming Christians, the ones we commit after becoming Christians, and the sins we will commit in the future are all covered by Jesus’ sacrifice. However, as high priest, we can go to him when tempted and he will help us avoid future sins. He can do that because he lives forever. When we do sin, we must confess them, ask for forgiveness, and repent (1 John 1:9). We can’t just think that we can sin and get away with it because Jesus’ sacrifice covers it. If that is our attitude, then it shows we really aren’t Christians (1 John 2:3-4). We will suffer the same eternal consequences as the people of Jerusalem.

Application

             I want to be obedient to the Lord and show that I am a Christian. One way to do that is to demonstrate love taking care of others in need and spreading the gospel instead of devoting myself to the pursuit of happiness in earthly things.

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