In today’s Ezekiel reading Egypt is promised a punishment partially because they put themselves in place of God. It seems silly. They took credit for creating the Nile. But don’t we put ourselves in the place of God all the time? We try to control things that we should hand over to God. We make decisions without consulting God. We assume that our finances are our own instead of a blessing from God. Let’s read today’s Ezekiel passage closely today.
- 1-21 – This is a prophecy against Egypt. Notice that in verses 9 and 10, it is explained that Egypt’s punishment is partially because the people tried to put themselves in the place of God by saying they created the Nile.
- 1-26 – The explanation of Egypt’s punishment continues and the hearer is assured that by the end of what Egypt will face, they will have no doubt who God is.
- 32-38 – All these folks who lived by faith faced very difficult challenges and hardships. Following God does not make life easy or simple. It is the opposite. Life is often more difficult when we follow God, but the reward in the end is well worth it.
- 1-2 – The “cloud of witnesses” is all the people who have gone before us and shown us what faithful living looks like. Our ultimate example is Christ who was willing to sacrifice himself in order to obtain the joy of the Lord and a place next to God.
- 7-11 – Discipline is a form of love because it protects us and guides us to the version of us God intended.
- This psalm highlights many reasons why it is good and beneficial to fear and obey God. Too often we see it as a burden that squashes us.
- As believers, we are called to help hold one another accountable and to spur each other on towards faithfulness.
Accountability is a big theme in today’s reading. Ezekiel is given a message from God and was held accountable for sharing it with the Israelites – as in, he would be held responsible for those who didn’t repent if he didn’t tell them too. Our reading in Hebrews also explains that once we know the gospel, we will be held accountable regarding whether we follow it or not. So what are you accountable for?
- 16-18 – God puts a lot of pressure on Ezekiel here. He either gives the people God’s message or their destruction will be, at least partially, on his hands.
- 27 – It was still on the people to make the decision whether or not to be faithful, but it was on Ezekiel to share the message of righteousness and repentance.
- 1-17 – Ezekiel was to take on the punishment of Judah. They would see, through him, the ruin that was to come for them.
- 10 – Yes, this sounds weird, but was a practice of some of the other pagan groups. God is basically telling his people they’re on their own for now and he knows that they will take on the practices of other people groups.
- 1-10 – We have a greater advantage towards faithfulness than those following Moses and Joshua did. Yet it is still possible for us to hear the good news and still fall short of all God intended for us. Many people hear the good news and still turn away from it.
- 12-13 – Scripture is wonderful because it gives us opportunities to know God more, but once we know it, we are held accountable for what it teaches us.
- 14-16 – Jesus faced the same things we face and came out of it without sin. We are not being asked to do anything he has not already done.
- 24-30 – This is a continuation of how God powerfully and intricately cares for creation.
- If we create opportunities to harm others, it will ultimately come back on us.
Early Christians had a lot of confusion regarding what was ok and what wasn’t. As it turned out, the church at Corinth struggled a little with deciding correctly. In 1 Corinthians, Paul does his best to make it clear what is faithful and what’s not. It’s a very helpful book if you have questions too.
There are double-standards in the world. Some are frustrating and unfair, while others are totally necessary. In today’s 1 Corinthians reading there is a justified double-standard. It is that believers are held to one moral standard while non-believers are not. We cannot expect non-believers to abide by God’s commands, but we as believers should and should even help one another do so. Yes, it’s a double-standard, but it is a necessary one for believers and non-believers alike.
- 21-23 – Ezra told the Babylonians God would take care of them on their journey, so now he had to put his money where his mouth is. This is why he has the people all call on the Lord through fasting and prayer.
- 31 – God hears their prayers for protection on their journey and answers them.
- 1-2 – The Israelites, and particularly the priests, had just finished traveling safely, because of God’s provisions, and have just completed their burnt offering, and immediately they’re breaking one of the main laws God has given them – to be set apart.
- 6-15 – Ezra’s prayer is honest and forthcoming. He confesses God’s goodness to his people and that they continue to sin against him. Particularly starting in vs. 13, Ezra seems to be very humbled by God’s graciousness in continuing to care for them despite their continued lack of faithfulness.
1 Corinthians 5:1-13:
- 9-11 – This is an interesting perspective. This is encouraging us not to try to avoid all sinners or even those who are still caught up in sin, but to avoid those who call themselves believers and are currently engaging in any of the sins listed. As believers we are called to a higher standard.
- 12-13 – Our moral law and faithfulness to Christ is not to be expected of those who do not believe, but we are to hold our own to Christ’s standards.
- 5 – Jesus repeats the first part of this verse when dying on the cross.
- 6-8 – David continually gives acknowledgment and praise to God for providing protection from his enemies.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good!” “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” “I once was blind but now I see.” God gave us five incredible senses. Today’s Proverb reminds us that we don’t just have these senses because they’re neat. We have them because they are just some of the ways that we get to experience God. Think about that the next time you see a beautiful landscape or hear a baby coo.
2 Chronicles 29:1-36:
- 5-11 – King Hezekiah was faithful and brought the Levites back to faithfulness as well.
- 24 – Israel had strayed for a long time from faithfulness. The Levites were cleansing everything completely so it could return to use in the worship of the Lord.
- 25-30 – This seems like a pretty spectacular worship service.
- 1-4 – There are times when we are called to rebuke others for their sins and bring them back. At this point, Jesus had deemed all food clean so eating certain things was no longer sinful. It was just a matter of point of view.
- 5-6 – Often we get angry with people who don’t hold to the same morals as us. Often it is more about us only upholding certain morals because of pride instead of doing so because of faithfulness to God.
- 20-21 – This is reason to abstain from certain things for the sake of others. Even though you don’t have a problem with alcohol or graphic movies, etc. if you know someone else does, you abstain for their sake.
- 3-4 – These are beautiful verses of what we should strive for so we can enter the presence of the Lord with confidence.
- 7-10 – A cool exchange asking questions of who it is that is worthy of such respect. It is our God, the God of Jacob.
- The Lord gives us our senses – these are just some of the ways he’s given us to experience him.