Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23

OT: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24

Ezekiel continues to update the law. As in past days, the major changes have to do with the temple. Also, in today's reading, several mentions were made of "the prince" (45:16-17, 22-25, 46: 2-8, 10, 16-18). Moses' law made mention of a future king, but it definitely did not contain this degree of regulation regarding the king.

In 46: 16-18, there are some laws about property ownership, and I think that the Israelite theory of land ownership is fascinating. In so many cultures (including my own), land is a commodity that belongs to whoever can buy it (or in the past, take it through force). In Native American cultures, the land belonged to no one. The Israelite culture took kind of a middle ground. Ultimate ownership of the land was not determined by money, like in my culture. But unlike the Native American culture, it did belong to someone. It was regarded as a person's portion, or inheritance, and as such, it could never be taken away from that person's descendants. It could be transferred temporarily, but it was always to revert back.

NT: 1 Peter 1:13-2:20

The instructions today have a stern edge to them: they advocate self-control (13), obedience (14),and holiness (15-16). They remind us of God's impending judgment, and of the subsequent need to "live your lives as strangers here, in reverent fear. In verse 22, the text tells us to "love one another deeply, from the heart."

There are many reasons given for such instructions. First of all, we have been redeemed with "the precious blood of Christ" (19). Secondly, we have been born again, "of imperishable" seed (23). Thirdly, our lives here are very short (24-25). When we understand those ideas, it becomes a lot easier to live with the kind of focus that today's scripture requires.

I also like the idea of us being a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God" (2:9). So often, I tend to be a "lone ranger" in my relationship with God, but in the past few years, especially, I have learned more and more how it is supposed to be a collective experience.

Psalm 119:33-48

The "He" stanza emphasizes how much God has to teach us to follow His word. It's not something we naturally do on our own.

Prov. 28:11

Argues that there is not necessarily a correlation between wisdom and wealth.

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