You woke up this morning, right? Great! Then you have reason to give God praise. You were given this day as a gift! Now praise him for it and go out and treat it as the gift that it is.
- 28-49 – This is a continuation of Ezekiel’s vision of what the new temple should look like. Like the first time it was built, there are very specific instructions regarding all the details.
- 1-4 – The Most Holy Place was a place where only the chief priest could go once a year. It was separated from the rest by a curtain. This curtain was torn in half when Jesus died and bridged the gap between us and God.
- 1-3 – This is inviting us to ask God for things. Note that we are to ask for things not to fulfill our selfish wants, but for God’s glory and for our good and the good of others.
- 4-10 – Friendship with the world entails loving things and loving what the world tells us we need more than we love and follow God. Instead, we are to draw near to and worship God.
- 13-17 – We are to submit everything, even our futures, to God’s will.
- 24 – No matter our circumstances, we can always rejoice because God made this day and gave it to us as a gift.
- 29 – This is an exclamation repeated often in Scripture. It is a reminder that God is constant in his faithfulness and that we are loved.
- 5 – This is an interesting point. If we seek the Lord, he steers us to what is good and pleasing in his sight.
We often think of sins as unrelated, individual decisions. I needed to lie in that situation so I did. Now it’s over. Today’s Proverb reminds us that that simply isn’t true. Sin becomes habit and we get comfortable doing it. It then leads us onto shaky ground, normally looking over our shoulder and wondering when we’ll get caught. Choosing faithfulness, however, brings us strength and stability as we stand on solid ground.
- 1-16 – This is the continuation of the prophecy against Gog. Gog had not appeared in Scripture until the last chapter. Gog is an individual who has opposed Israel and will be punished because of it.
- 21-29 – God explains that though Israel was disobedient and he punished them, he will soon restore them back to prominence and proliferation.
- 1-17 – This is a vision Ezekiel is given regarding what the new temple should look like. The new temple ends up being built in the same place as the old temple and it stood until 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed it.
- 18-26 – Our faith is not helpful if it is inactive. True faith cannot actually remain inactive. If we have faith in Christ, it is transformative and causes us to begin to live more like Christ. Works are inevitable.
- 2-12 – James spends time discussing how difficult it is to tame the tongue, but that if we do, it controls our whole selves. We all know how difficult it is to keep our speech pure, uplifting, and beneficial to others.
- 5-7 – The psalmist has such confidence in God’s ability to take care of him despite the circumstances because he had experienced God’s protection before. Instead of forgetting God’s faithfulness, he used that memory to build his faith for the future.
- Disobedience and sin lead to instability, but faithfulness leads to strength.
The line in the Lord’s Prayer that asks God to “lead us not into temptation” is sometimes problematic for people. They wonder if that suggests that God leads us toward sin. Today’s James reading assures us that God does not lead us toward sin but towards righteousness because he doesn’t want us to sin. The line in the Lord’s Prayer is referring back to Jesus’ temptation and recognizing that we are not strong enough to handle what he did.
- 1-15 – Mount Seir was a series of mountains marking the southeastern border of Judah. Clearly the people that inhabited the region had disobeyed God and would face punishment and the land would be made desolate.
- 15 – So many of the prophecies and oracles end with the statement, “then they will know that I am the Lord” or something similar. The destruction and difficulty God was sending to these nations had a purpose. Clearly they were previously unaware that God was God alone, or they were simply unwilling for that truth to inform how they lived.
- 8-15 – Not all the prophecies were bad. God promises to reestablish and repopulate the mountains of Israel. Here too he says that they will know he is God, but this time it’s because of the good he does for them.
- 26 – A powerful verse describing how we become when we choose sin over and over again and then how God restores and transforms us.
- 2-4 – It is difficult to look at trials this way when we’re in the middle of them, but we can often look back at past trials and how God has sustained us through them. Hopefully, then, in the next trial we will remember God’s faithfulness in previous trials.
- 12 – To remain steadfast is to remain faithful to God.
- 13-15 – God does not desire for us to sin, so he does not lead us to sin.
- 16-18 – These verses are the perfect answer to verses 13-15. God gives good gifts, not opportunities to sin.
- 1-2 – God’s faithfulness to us should lead us to more faithfulness to him.
- 23-27 – The investment you put in those with whom you’re entrusted will benefit you later.
Proverbs has a lot of relationship advice – from friendship to marriages to parenting. Today’s tip on marriage is to pay attention to the signs someone gives you BEFORE you marry them! A wise man does not marry a woman who has proven herself hateful and quarrelsome. It just doesn’t make sense.
- 1-36 – Tyre was a wealthy city because it was located on a port. But their wealth was where they placed their pride, which ultimately led to destruction. This section is a lament over the rise and fall of Tyre.
- 1-10 – This is a prophecy against the prince of Tyre because he has placed himself above God. This is always going to be a bad idea.
- 11-19 – The King of Tyre had at one time been in God’s good graces, but had since turned to unfaithfulness and had become a laughing stock.
- 20-23 – The city of Sidon was also unfaithful and set to be destroyed. Tyre and Sidon, in the New Testament are often used as examples of what not to be, similar to Sodom and Gomorrah.
- 24-26 – God promises to bring Israel back together after Israel and return to it.
- 26 – This verse should stop us in our tracks! Because of their deep and abiding faith that God’s promises are true, all these people acted faithfully with the willingness to wait for their rewards. Are we willing to do the same?
- 1-3 – Let’s give thanks to the Lord for his great Word that we get to read in order to connect with him! Let’s do it even when it’s hard to find time to read!
- 15-16 – This is simply encouraging men to make wise choices about the women they choose. A combative nature would most likely be evident before marriage.
Acting on faith, by definition, means we take the step without knowing the result. Today’s section on Hebrews lists a number of people who acted on faith. They couldn’t be certain of the outcome but lived righteously, trusting God to take care of the rest. What are times when you’ve been asked to live righteously when you couldn’t know the outcome?
- 15-24 – God uses Ezekiel’s life, yet again, to serve as a mirror for the Israelites to see what is about to happen to them. Ezekiel’s wife dies and he is not allowed to mourn. The Israelites will also soon lose what is most valuable to them, the temple.
- 1-7 – This is a prophecy against the Ammonites. This, and the condemning prophecies to follow are reminiscent of Jeremiah’s oracles against the nations in chapters 46-51.
- Chapter 11 is often know as the “Hall of Faith”. It is a helpful list of many people in Scripture who acted faithfully because of their faith. We are often asked to take steps/leaps of faith. It is for our good and God’s glory that we are asked to take these steps. They’re scary, but worth it.
- 1 – This helps us define what faith is and what it isn’t. We often want proof in order to have faith, but proof is not required for faith. Faith must come before proof.
- 6 – It is interesting to think that faith is the root of pleasing God. We must have faith in order to please God.
- 13-16 – The folks mentioned in this chapter all died still living faithfully. Each was seeking God’s best for them, a heavenly home, realizing that this life wasn’t all God had in store.
- 4 – Melchizedek was mentioned heavily at the beginning of Hebrews comparing Jesus to Melchizedek.
- Everyone has had a noisy neighbor before. I think we can all agree it’s not a blessing.
Both our New and Old Testament readings talk about covenants today. As we’ve discussed, covenants are agreements between two parties (God is always one of them in the Bible) where both sides have something to uphold. Our Old Testament reading shows God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Israel despite their total lack of regard for their end of the bargain. Then in the New Testament reading we see God’s new covenant through Christ. This is the covenant we’re under. Our part of the bargain is to receive Christ’s salvation and live accordingly. Let’s make a renewed commitment to our portion of the covenant today.
- 44-58 – The Israelites looked down on places like Sodom and Samaria for their sins and because they did not have the special bond with God that the Israelites had. Here God puts the Israelites in their place by placing them lower than those nations.
- 59-63 – As poorly as the Israelites have held to their covenant with God, God reiterates his commitment to the covenant.
- 11-21 – These verses explain the parable found earlier in the chapter. The parable tells of Jerusalem/Judah’s unfaithfulness. They trusted in the power of other nations instead of that of God. Judah’s fate for unfaithfulness is destruction.
- 22-24 – Yes! We’re talking about Jesus here. All kinds of people will find rest with Christ and social statuses will flip flop.
- This section describes the new covenant that was established through Christ.
- 8-12 – Jeremiah 31:31-34 is quoted here.
- 13 – This is to say that the original covenant is now replaced by the new. Christ’s covenant is what we live under. God’s first covenant wasn’t bad, this one is kind of like a new edition that we should adhere to from now on.
- This psalm is another example of God’s faithfulness repaid by Israel’s lack of faith and unfaithfulness.
- 30-31 – Often acts of faithfulness are “counted as righteousness” to the person who is faithful.
- 7 – This is very true of our culture. We are not “hungry” for anything because all our needs are met so we tend to be ungrateful for what we have. Those in need are often grateful for anything and everything made available to them.
It is in our nature to question things. Often, we question God’s goodness because of things in the world we don’t like. We wonder if God is fair. We often forget that we actually don’t want God to be fair because we would be in a world of hurt if he was. Today’s Psalm reminds us that God is faithful even when we’re sinful. This is the kind of unfair we can really get behind.
- 12-23 – God makes it clear that any one of the four acts of destroying an unfaithful city would suffice, but he has committed to all four acts against Jerusalem.
- 1-8 – The vine is Jerusalem. God makes it clear that Jerusalem will be completely useless and easy to destroy now that it is separated from God.
- 1-14 – God reminds Jerusalem that it is he who made the city great. It was nothing without him.
- 15-22 – When they refer to Jerusalem “whoring”, it means that Jerusalem would give itself to any available idol worship or other god that presented itself. Jerusalem was not faithful to God.
- 30-34 – God explains that Jerusalem’s actions weren’t even as beneficial as a prostitute’s. Even a prostitute gets some reward for her sins.
- 18-22 – This is a continuation of yesterday’s comparison between Melchizedek and Jesus. This continues to describe Jesus as superior to Melchizedek.
- 28 – God still uses sinful people for his purposes, but we still have to look to Jesus, who was perfect, for salvation.
- 6-12 – This psalm reminds us of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of our failings.
- 5 – Open rebuke gives a person an opportunity to self-correct. Hidden love has good intentions but doesn’t actually help the other out.
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.
If you have a high view of Jesus, Hebrews is a great place to hangout. The writer of Hebrews makes a point to assure us that Jesus is above anyone else and that’s how we should see him.
In Genesis, Esau loses his birthright after saying, “I’m so hungry I’m about to die!” He most likely was not about the die of hunger. When we’re cold we say, “I’m freezing!” and when hot, “I’m burning up!” We tend to over exaggerate our suffering. Though today’s psalmist sounds pretty dramatic, we have to remember that suffering is real and elicits great emotion in us.
- 1-27 – The author laments over the pain and sorrow of the exile and destruction of the Israelites and their land. But then the author offers hope. God’s faithfulness does renew continually.
- 37-42 – The author recognizes that his people have sinned and are at fault and ultimately need to accept what they’re given.
- 43-54 – The Israelites were shamed because it seemed that their God couldn’t take care of them or had forgotten them. They were both overtaken and humiliated.
- 55-66 – The author clearly still has hope that God will restore his people.
- 3-4 – What a lovely description of Christ!
- 8-12 – Christ cannot be placed on the same level as the angels. He is, instead, set apart and above the angels.
- 1-11 – Though the psalmist’s words seem somewhat dramatic, our sufferings tend to illicit those kinds of thoughts. It is hard to see outside of difficulty and suffering and keep things in perspective.
- 21 – Hothead men tend to ignite controversy everywhere they go.