Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 20:1-49; Hebrews 9:11-28; Psalm 107; Proverbs 27:11
But I also came across verses that made me pause and think about how I live my life. The first occurred in Ezekiel 20:12 which reads: Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.(NASB 1995) The NLT renders this verse: And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, who had set them apart to be holy. I stopped to consider God’s Words here about the Sabbath. I pretty much just think of it as a day of rest-but it is a day of rest that has a purpose even for us. How much time after I get home from church do I enjoy thinking about God’s sanctifying work in me. Thinking about my Sovereign Lord who chose me in Christ to be His very own. Spending these last few days in the book of Ezekiel this is HUGE. Much like my thoughts earlier this week regarding the Lord’s Supper I am wondering how I am going to apply this to my Sundays in the future. I’m not yet sure so will have to keep you posted.
As I read further in Ezekiel God really brought me to consider what He was saying to the leaders in these verses. In essence they and their ancestors wanted more than anything to be like the nations around them. They were so drawn to the world around them that they refused to be set apart as holy-they refused to honor the Sabbath. What about me? Do I too desire to be like the world, to not stand out as different somehow? Does the world woo me with its enticements so that I put God on a back burner-that I put His sanctifying work in my life as less important? That Sabbath rest may be necessary for a weekly reset as I am so prone to forget who I am in Christ. No wonder God has put all these things into place to call me to remembrance. I really need to take them seriously.
Verses 32-38 in Ezekiel were hard to read.
“You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign Lord. I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
God has a message for these people-I am going to judge you according to the terms of our covenant. And I am going to do it “face to face.” What a terrifying prospect. To be judged by God face to face, and come to terms with the knowledge that you are guilty of everything He accuses you of. All I could say at this point, was thank God I am reading Hebrews and being reminded that I am under the New Covenant and that nothing I do will ever be held against me. Christ has made sure that when I come face to face with God I shall be blameless before Him. Just let the wonder of that sink in for a moment before reading further….
When I came to Psalm 107 I fell in love with it. Partly because of the closing words which felt like a sweet answer to my prayer. Psalm 107:43 reads:
Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.
So what am I taking to heart this morning? Lessons learned from the history of Israel and their relationship to the Sovereign LORD.
Psalm 107 is a psalm of redemption, not just for those who have faithfully followed the Lord but also those who rebelled against God. Each group mentioned ends up crying out to God in their distress and He hears them all and answers their cries and saves every single one of them. He saves all who call out to Him who desire to be saved. Those who turn to the LORD in their time of great need.
What particularly stood out to me was verse 9:
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
All I could think as I read those words was that Jesus gives us Living Water to satisfy our thirst so we are never thirsty again. And Jesus is the Bread of Life who fills us with what is good. Here tucked in this Old Testament verse is the very thing we experience as the redeemed of the Lord today. The work of Jesus was sitting right there in those words. That’s so cool!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary (Psalm 107: 1-2)
When I came to the words in Proverbs and it was as if God was speaking these words directly to me. “Be wise my child and make my heart glad.” Well, it made my heart glad for sure as I give thanks to the Lord this morning for He is indeed good and His lovingkindness never, ever ends. It is limitless and boundless. And I am one of the redeemed who will say so. Praise God!
May grace, peace, and mercy from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ be upon you dear reader.