OT: Ezekiel 21:1-22:31
I'm going to be honest: today's Bible reading was not a glorious experience. I was tired, and I have a cold, and I could see no distinguishing features between today and previous days in either the OT or the NT readings. At one point, I decided to see how long we have been reading prophecies centering around the coming destruction. It's been over a month; we started Isaiah on September 8. Halfway through today's reading, I began to wonder if my Bible force-feeding was bringing any glory to God. I tried my hardest to focus, but just had a hard time. I did talk to God and just told Him that I hoped the discipline itself brought Him glory.
Anyway, when I get tired and cranky, I generally just have questions about the reading, rather than any insight or inspiration. For instance, in verse 3, God says that he is "going to cut off the righteous and the wicked." That fits into a lot of other prophecies, but what about the vision where the guy marked all the righteous on the forehead? Or what about God's new deal, where He was going to judge people individually?
How does this all fit together?
NT: Hebrews 10:1-17
There is more "shadow" talk in verse 1, which continues the discussion about Jesus, the new high priest. We hear more about how Jesus does not have to continue to make sacrifices, because He made the ultimate, perfect sacrifice when He died for us.
My cranky question comes with verse 5, when the Hebrew writer quotes a psalm and directly attributes it to Jesus. My question is simply, why? I mean, clearly he knew that it wasn't Jesus who said it, and clearly he feels that the Psalms have some serious, Messianic tie-ins...but why misquote? I enjoy literary freedom as much as (if not more than) the next guy, but I just didn't see the purpose.
Okay, griping about it actually got my synapses firing, and I am beginning to see a purpose, which is very much in keeping with his crazy use of OT texts. The purpose is that the quote provides a good synopsis of so much of what Jesus said about external actions being unable to please God. And the last verse, especially, describes the role of Jesus very well. So the psalm is very fitting.
My favorite verse in this section is verse 14. The only thing that bothers me about it is that it is a sentence fragment, which doesn't make it very quotable. But I love how it sums up the mystery of Christians. There is a paradox about Christians: by accepting Christ, they are fully justified and made perfect in God's eyes (when it comes to judgment). And yet...they aren't perfect. Not even close. What gives? How can God think of us as perfect when we are obviously such screw-ups? Verse 14 puts it together for me: "by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Christianity is both an all-at-once type of thing and a process. If Jesus' blood covers us, then we are perfect in God's sight. And yet, our transformation into the likeness of Christ is a gradual thing that only happens as we give God more and more control of our lives.
I did enjoy this psalm very much, in part b/c I read it aloud this morning to help focus my day. I was too tired to dive into Ezekiel, but I thought a psalm would be nice. And it was. I particularly loved the declaration:
"For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies" (4).
About the wisdom of avoiding unnecessary danger.