Daily Reflections October 13, 2017
The last chapters of Ezekiel can seem very tedious and uninspiring to the modern reader. But Ezekiel and his audience were well aware that Solomon’s temple was destroyed because of Israel’s sin. In Ezekiel 43:10-11, he reveals to us that these detailed descriptions of the temple – a most holy and perfect temple that God would build – are described to shame Israel for letting their sin and cause them to repent. These chapters present the holiness of God that should cause us to reflect on our lack of holiness and humbly turn to God in submission and obedience. If we debate the various interpretations of each detail yet neglect to do this then we will miss the very point of this passage of Scripture.
Remembering that this vision is best treated as apocalyptic literature and therefore none of the details are to be literally interpreted as particular future figures or events, we should simply view the prince in this particular chapter as an idyllic figure that will come to lead the people in right worship before God. He will be unlike the priests and shepherds before who have led the people astray and desecrated the holy things in the temple with their sinfulness. He will go before them, sacrifice for them, and ensure the benefits for them. He would be a priest and prince like no other.
Interestingly, Ezekiel also points out that this visionary new kingdom would be marked by fellowship. One commentator states, “Worship, in the Old Testament, and in Ezekiel’s visionary new kingdom, includes the fellowship of eating food with one another.”1 There is something special about eating with one another in community. That is why the Lord’s Supper is such an intimate yet necessarily corporate ordinance. And each time we gather to eat in fellowship to the glory of God we get a foreshadow of the great Banquet of the Lamb.
As we read this vision and taste the fulfillment of this vision, let us respond as the author encourages in Hebrews 12:28-29:
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
In Psalm 102 we once again encounter a psalm of lament. Hopefully at this point in your readings you are beginning to pick up on the regular patterns that these psalms take. While exceptions do exist, the regular pattern of a psalm of lament consists of five parts.
1. Address / Petition
3. Confession of Trust
5. Vow to Praise
Psalm 102 is no exception to this regular pattern. We once again find the psalmist crying out that the Lord would hear him and restore him. The cause of this distress is identified as the Lord’s anger and punishment (v.8). Rather than growing in resentment towards God, the psalmist instead draws close to God in the knowledge that only He can restore that which He took away.
This confession of trust in the God who has inflicted woe is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the psalms of lament. It is apparent that the writers of these psalms had a deep appreciation for the promises of God. They knew not only what God had said, but they trusted that He would hold true to His promises. For example, in our particular psalm we find the author trusting that God will restore Zion to glory (vv.13-16), and that all people will worship Him (v.22). In essence, the psalmist trusts that God will restore all things to how He originally designed them to be, including his own relationship with God.
Why does the psalmist have such hope that God will hold true to His promises? The answer is provided within this very psalm. In verses 19-20 we read words which should instantly reminds us of the Exodus story. In Exodus 20:23-24 we read:
“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
God had already proven Himself to be faithful throughout Israel’s long history. There was, therefore, no reason to doubt that God would continue to hold true to His covenant promises.
If this was the hope of the psalmist, how much more should it be the hope of the Christian. We can now look back not only to the exodus from Egypt, but also to our own exodus from sin and death. God has once for all proven His faithfulness by means of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Therefore, in our seasons of woe and affliction, we can now more than ever before, hold onto hope that these pains are but temporary, and that God will indeed complete His work of restoring all things to Himself.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier
1Derek Thomas, God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained, Welwyn Commentary Series (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 1993), 289.