EZEKIEL 40:28-41:26 | JAMES 4:1-17 | PSALM 118:19-29 | PROVERBS 28:3-5
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Ezekiel continues to describe the vision with the man in bronze who appears to him and begins to measure every detail of the inner and outer courts of the temple, the gates to the temple from every direction, and eventually, the temple itself.
Historians tells us that the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed for the second time in 586 BC. It is to be seen what might come of all this information.
Turning now to our reading of the book of James, we find James addressing certain common human conditions such as covetousness. He says, speaking of our proclivity to beseech God and to then become frustrated when we do not get when we ask for,
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
He then goes on to offer some more advice on conducting one’s self. He says:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Did you hear that, folks? Come near to God and he will come near to you! Could that be any clearer?
James is also quite clear in his exhortation to not judge your neighbor. He says:
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Next, James offers some good advice for the over-confident and the ambitious, and in doing so, he has bestowed upon himself the title of father of the oft-used phrase “God-willing” that is considered common parlance among Christians the world over.
James says: 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
We turn now to our reading of the Psalms, and find in these verses the most strikingly simple, yet most magnificent praise that David offers up to the Lord. May it be that these very words of thanksgiving be found on our lips as well:
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
25 LORD, save us!
LORD, grant us success!
And again, in these simple words, David praises the Lord in a most humble way that is to be emulated by the reader:
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Finally, three verses from the book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel, that are worthy of record and rumination:
3 A ruler who oppresses the poor
is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
4 Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,
but those who heed it resist them.
5 Evildoers do not understand what is right,
but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.