EZEKIEL 47:1-48:35 | 1 PETER 2:11-3:7 | PSALM 119:49-64 | PROVERBS 28:12-13
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Ezekiel’s vision regarding the restoration of the temple and the children of Israel continues. Today, Ezekiel is given a glimpse of the beauty and grandeur of the river Jordan that flows through the city of Jerusalem near the temple.
This is the great promise concerning this river:
9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Next, the boundaries of the land are redefined, and the division of the land is prescribed for all twelve tribes of Israel. This is a new day, and the city like new. And as for a name for this city, this is what Ezekiel is told:
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.”
We turn now to our reading of the first book of Peter, and find practical exhortations to live in peace and to do good. Peter says:
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Following Christ does not mean defying authority. On the contrary, it means being in submission. Peter goes on to say:
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
Next, Peter goes on to exhort his readers to respond to injustice in a more superior way, and offers up the example of Christ himself. He says:
19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Finally, not unlike Paul, Peter also offers up advice to both husbands and wives on personal conduct. To the women he has more detailed advice in these words:
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
We turn now to our reading of the Psalms, and find David’s inimitable style of invoking the name of the Lord for help. Like David, may it be that we also say the same:
49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
And again, in these lines:
57 You are my portion, LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
Finally, a few lines from the book of Proverbs, in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, offers two verses worthy of record and rumination.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.