Though You Have Not Seen Him, You Love Him

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EZEKIEL 44:1-45:12 | 1 PETER 1:1-12 | PSALM 119:17-32 | PROVERBS 28:8-10

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Ezekiel continues to provide an account of the vision revealed to him concerning the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem, the restoration of the priesthood, and the final restoration of the people of Israel.

This is going to be a new beginning where everything is to be reset, and the proverbial slate is to be wiped clean. This concept of change was to be applied even to the scales and measures used in daily transactions. 

This is what the Lord instructs Ezekiel to inform the people:   9 “You have gone far enough, princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. 10 You are to use accurate scales, an accurate ephahand an accurate bath.

We turn now to our New Testament reading of the day, and find ourselves entering a new book titled the First Epistle of Peter, or simply First Peter, commonly written as I Peter. 

This is the same Peter who was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples — a fisherman by profession who was asked to follow Jesus to become a fisher of men!  This is the same Peter who walked on water across the lake of Galilee to meet Jesus — so great was his faith.  It is the very Peter who professed so great a love for Jesus that he did not hesitate to draw his sword and wound the Roman soldier who attempted to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsamane. 

Yes, this was the very same Peter who vowed to never deny association with Jesus — so great was his devotion — and yet, before the rooster crowed thrice in the span of one day, he did just that!  This is that very same man who after the death and resurrection of Jesus traveled through the middle-eastern regions including major portions of Asia Minor, i.e., modern Greece and Turkey to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ.

And so, this is the first of two letters written by Peter to the fast-growing body of believers who called themselves Christian.  Unlike the epistle of Hebrews and several of Paul’s letters that were written for the greater diaspora of Jews scattered throughout the region, this letter appears to be directed more toward a Gentile or non-Jewish audience. 

Peter starts out his letter by invoking the great “living hope” that lies within the person of Jesus Christ.  He says: 

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

Concerning this “inheritance” which has been promised to each one owing to pure and simple faith in the great mission accomplished on the cross by Jesus Christ, God incarnate, Peter explains it like this: 

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Turning now to our reading of the Psalms, we find ourselves in the very long Psalm 119, which is actually an acrostic poem, each section starting with a sequential letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 

Who among us cannot relate to the great grief and sorrow that David so often references?  But can it be also asked who among us has responded to misery in the manner in which David does, viz. to seek refuge in the providence of the Almighty in the most humble way.  This is how David does it:

28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
   strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
   be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
   I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, LORD;
   do not let me be put to shame.
32
I run in the path of your commands,

   for you have broadened my understanding.

Finally, three verses from the book of Proverbs authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel.  Each of these serves as food for thought:

8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
   amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
   even their prayers are detestable.

10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
   will fall into their own trap,
   but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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