"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Ezekiel 21:1-22:31 ~ Hebrews 10:1-17 ~ Psalm 108:1-13 ~ Proverbs 27:12
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Old Testament – In Ezekiel chapter 21 today we read about the Lord’s sword of judgment! Which, in this case is Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. I did not realize until today that there is actually a “sword song” in the Bible – a song that warriors may have sung and even danced to before going out to battle. Unfortunately, this sword song in verses 9 through 11 was being sung for Jerusalem because of her many sins… “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner.”
Okay, so Ezekiel Chapters 21 & 22 are the types of chapters where you might you think about stereotypes of the Old Testament – a “grouchy/mean” God perhaps one might say about these two chapters… However! – context of course is key to keep in mind. We must also know the book of Jeremiah or Ezekiel prior to these chapters. God has been slow to anger, compassionate, asking – no, begging – people to repent. And they have not. And things just keep getting worse and worse and worse. Check out chapter 22 verses 1 through 16 for how bad the sins of Jerusalem have gotten… All of this reminds me that the consequences for sin are very real. Let us never forget the truth of Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And, once again, in verse 30 of chapter 22 we see God’s compassion and God seeking an opportunity to stop the coming judgment: “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” No one was found… This verse makes me think about this – sometimes I think we tell ourselves, “What difference does it make? What difference does it make if I’m good or bad? What difference does it make if I serve and love others in need?” Check out verse 30 above again. Think one person could have made a difference then?
New Testament – Hebrews chapter 10 is powerful today! I did come across a great learning, which I hadn’t really picked up before. In verse 9 we read this about Jesus: “He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second.” At first glance you might think, wow, the old / first covenant is over. Things like the Ten Commandments don’t matter anymore. Well, not so fast! Tyndale’s One Year Bible companion tells us that this verse refers to the doing away (canceling) of the system of sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. However, this does not mean canceling / eliminating God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments). Only through faith in Christ we can fulfill the moral law, as Jesus lives in us. Good to know, eh? I’d never really picked up this distinction before of Jesus canceling the ceremonial law but not the moral law. Do you see this distinction? As I’ve done some more reading on this, I realize this is a bit of a contentious point for many Christians. Check out this great overview of the Mosaic Law in light of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection – including a disagreement on my point above about the moral law – at bible.org at this link.
Psalms – I love Psalm 108 verse 1 today: “My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my soul!”
Proverbs – Proverbs 27:12 reminds us that it’s good to be a defensive driver on the roads! 🙂 “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Honestly, I do think that we do well when we are “defensive” drivers or defensive walkers or defensive workers or this list could go on. I am afraid that all too often we can drive or walk or work like we are #1 and there is no one else in this world… well, guess what? The person you crash into with your car, or get in a fight with when you walk, or get in an argument with when you work is thinking the exact same thing – except they are thinking that they are #1! This is where Jesus wisely encouraged us to consider others before ourselves. Imagine if our world operated this way – in Jesus’ way of humility and service to others – instead of everyone thinking they are #1?
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: “My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.” Psalm 108:1 (NIV)
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