EZEKIEL 45:13-46:24 | 1 PETER 1:13-2:10 | PSALM 119:33-48 | PROVERBS 28:11
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Ezekiel’s instructions concerning the restoration of the temple practices continues. There is the most detailed account of the proper protocol for the many types of offerings that are to be made. These were the rules:
13 “‘Every day you are to provide a year-old lamb without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD; morning by morning you shall provide it. 14 You are also to provide with it morning by morning a grain offering, consisting of a sixth of an ephah with a third of a hin of oil to moisten the flour. The presenting of this grain offering to the LORD is a lasting ordinance. 15 So the lamb and the grain offering and the oil shall be provided morning by morning for a regular burnt offering.
Do you hear that, folks? Every day you are to provide a year-old lamb without defect – morning by morning.
Is that a daunting thought? Is that intimidating? Perhaps even oppressive? Well, that is just how it was — until such time that a new law, a new covenant was established by God would be revealed. And this time, not just for the people of Israel, but for the entire world!
We turn now to our reading of the first book of Peter, and find Peter raising the bar for personal living standards. He says:
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
And if the bar has been raised, it is for good reason. Peter reminds us what that reason is:
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Remember the “lamb without defect” that was required by the law? Well, this is the perfect lamb that satisfies the requirements of the law!
To emphasize the magnitude of this great gift-offering that has been presented to God on your behalf — in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice– Peter says this:
24 For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
Peter goes on to offer this exhortation to his readers:
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
And to the scattered Jewish diaspora, Peter says:
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Turning now to our reading of the Psalms, we find David’s prayer to be one that we might all wish to emulate:
41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
And then, again:
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, speaks of the delusions of the rich:
11 The rich are wise in their own eyes;
one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.