My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ezekiel 32

Egypt ain't special

Summary:
Egypt was like a thrashing wild animal, so God will throw a net of many peoples over her. The animals will eat her blood, and the valleys will be full of her blood. They will live in darkness and have no hope. People will find her disgusting. Babylon will come get you, and you'll know who God is.

She can't rely on her favour. Others will know that she has fallen to the uncircumcised. Assyria, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, Sidon and the northern princes, and Edom are all already in that grave. Pharaoh is going there too.

Key verse:
28. You too, O Pharaoh, will be broken and will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.

My thoughts:
We read of Babylon and Assyria mocking Israel because no gods of other nations had saved them. Israel would not be special. In the same way, God is showing Pharaoh that there is nothing special about him and he will fall with the other nations.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ezekiel 31

Big trees fall harder

Summary:
Egypt, you sure are great, but remember that Assyria was once great in Assyria too, like a massive tree. It was the best tree. But because of its sin and pride, God brought foreign nations to come and chop it down. It fell on the mountains and God cut off its water sources. All its allies were gone too.

It'll be the same with Egypt.

Key verse:
18. Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below

My thoughts:
God seems to have a thing against successful nations. They are all evil in some way. Look at how evil America looks in this picture!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ezekiel 30

Broken arms

Summary:
Have a cry cos God's day is near when he'll whomp Egypt. Egypt and all her allies will be crushed, and they'll know who's the God. Nebuchadnezzar will come and cause all the problems for Egypt, and have their idols destroyed. Every region will see God's wrath.

God has broken Pharaoh's arm, and instead of letting it heal, God will break the other arm. Babylon's arms will be strengthened and Egypt dispersed.

Key verse:
22. I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt. I will break both his arms, the good arm as well as the broken one, and make the sword fall from his hand.

My thoughts:
Sucks to be the Pharaoh I guess. Arms are pretty necessary.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ezekiel 29

Egypt's exile

Summary:
God is against Pharaoh who claims ownership over the Nile. You will be like a caught fish, eaten by the animals.

Israel used to look to your for help, but you never did. So the Egyptians will be killed and their land desolate for 40 years. They will then be a lowly kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar couldn't get Tyre, but he'll get you.

Key verse:
15. It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.

My thoughts:
In the Ancient Near East at this time there was the first of a string of changes of guard of the current ruling Empire. Egypt had been dominant for some time, but their time was limited. Babylon, then Persia, then Greece then Rome would come. Palestine was constantly changing hands, as it has continued to do throughout history.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ezekiel 28

Tyre's King

Summary:
The king of Tyre calls himself a god, but he isn't. You think you're wise and skilful, and surely you have lots of success but God will humble you. You will die violently. Tell your killers of your divinity!

You were so great, made of great minerals. You were sinless until you sinned. You were then destroyed.

Sidon will also be destroyed so Israel's neighbours are gone. God will then be seen as holy.

Key verse:
9. Will you then say, "I am a god,"
in the presence of those who kill you?
You will be but a man, not a god,
in the hands of those who slay you.

My thoughts:
Tyre's exploits were so bad that we now have the word 'Tyrant" from it.

That isn't true at all. Sounds believable though.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ezekiel 27

A lament for Tyre

Summary:
Tyre, you were beautiful. You ships were made from the best wood and the best sails. You had amazingly talented and happy foreigners as workers and soldiers. All the nations traded with you.

Your ships are sturdy, but will be shipwrecked. The seamen will cry out and mourn. You were so great, but are now shattered. People are now disgusted by you.

Key verse:
36. The merchants among the nations hiss at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.

My thoughts:
The previous chapter, which was written before this chapter, prophesies the result in verse 36. This proves the supernatural prediction of events in the Bible.

The passage reminds me of Herschelle Gibbs hitting six 6s in a row today.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ezekiel 26

Tyring of judgement

Summary:
Tyre, you mocked Jerusalem so God's against you. Babylon will attack you with lots of horses and sieges, and your music will stop. All those who live by the sea will freak, because you were the city they looked up to. You'll become uninhabited.

Key verse:
21. I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more.

My thoughts:
Pleasant... I think the correct conclusion from such a passage is to realise which nations God has judged, and then make them meet their horrible end; in accordance with God's will.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ezekiel 25

And now the other nations

Summary:
Ammon will be taken over for mocking Israel's misfortune. Moab will be exposed for enjoying Israel's downfall. Edom will become a wasteland for taking revenge on Israel. Philistia will be cut off also for taking vengeance on Israel.

Key verse:
3. you said "Aha!" over my sanctuary when it was desecrated

My thoughts:
God has spent a long time destroying his own nation, but something I've learnt from social situations is that you can't mock people about something just because they joke about it themselves. Particularly girl's fatness

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ezekiel 24

Your wife be dead

Summary:
On this very day Babylon started her seige against Jerusalem.

Ezekiel took at pot and made a meat stew of the best meat in it. Then God judged Jerusalem because of her bloodguilt. The pot was boiled to boil out its impurities just like Jerusalem would be. It's time for God to do something.

God warned Ezekiel that he was going to kill his wife and he wasn't to mourn. This was because God was to kill his delight, Jerusalem, and its people would not mourn. When Jerusalem falls, Ezekiel's silence would end.

Key verse:
16. Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears.

My thoughts:
What a way to learn a lesson. It wasn't even something Ezekiel needed to learn, it was something Jerusalem needed to learn.

Um... "sometimes lessons are hard to learn"... or something like that.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ezekiel 23

Ewh... that's dirty...

Summary:
There were two sisters, Ohalah (=Samaria) and Oholibah (=Jerusalem). They became prostitutes at a young age in Egypt. Ohalah continued to prostitute herself to Assyrians even when they were mine, so I gave her to them and they killed her. Oholibah saw this and did worse! She saw photos of Babylonians and desperately sent for them in lust. She wanted it.

Even your lustful lovers are disgusted by you, so I'll bring them to you with weapons and they'll attack you are strip you of your jewellery. Your disgrace will lie exposed. You will suffer your sister's fate.

Ezekiel, will you judge Ohalah and Oholibah? They drew a harem of men around themselves. May a mob destroy them and their dirty lifestyle.

Key verse:
20. There she [CENSORED] after her [CENSORED], whose [CENSORED] were like those of [CENSORED] and whose [CENSORED] was like that of [CENSORED].

My thoughts:
Commonly referred to as the dirtiest passage in the Bible. Ewh... that's dirty.

The point is completely consistent with the rest of Ezekiel. Jerusalem is prostituting herself to the idols of other nations and they will be punished for it. Having it explained in this imagery (see Ezekiel 16) does help us see how amazing it was for God to take Jerusalem back.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ezekiel 22

Intercession

Summary:
God told Ezekiel to go judge Jerusalem for her bloodshed and that tell her that he days are over. Her leader's exploit their power and oppressed the weak. They have forgotten the Sabbath and commit every sexual sin imaginable.

I, God, will disperse you. You are like discarded metal and I will melt you. Your leaders are like violent wild animals.

I looked for one person to intercede, but no-one did.

Key verse:
30. I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

My thoughts:
To push this verse into its contemporary application I would say it shows the need for us to pray and intercede for those who won't pray for themselves. God is looking for people like us to pray on behalf of others.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ezekiel 21

A sword

Summary:
God is against Jerusalem and her temple. God will kill the good and the bad. Groan a groan that makes everyone else fear. There will be a sword so sharp that it will easily cut Israel's scepter. People will be gutted, and so should you be.

Babylon's sword will come two ways. One way against Ammon, and the other against Judah. But lot they will go against Judah. It's because of Judah's sin.

The sword is for slaughter. You will fuel this fire.

Key verse:
9. A sword, a sword,
sharpened and polished

My thoughts:
God often gives many curses. When he gives one symbolised by a sword it means people are going to be killed in war.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ezekiel 20

Continual rebellion

Summary:
Some leaders came to inquire of God through Ezekiel, but God would not let them know anything. God told Ezekiel to judge them on their sins. God had wanted to be their God, but they had gone elsewhere. They should throw out their idols. But they did. God set his rules, and his Sabbath as a promise, but Israel rebelled in the desert, and God almost killed them all, but instead he taught the next generation, but they also rebelled. And it was the same until this day.

You can keep doing this and expect me to talk to you, says God. You want to be like the other nations, but I won't let you. I will drag you out of the nations and force you back into this covenant.

Serve your idols now, but you won't soon. Things will be sweet and you'll know I'm God.

Then Ezekiel prophesied against Southland.

Key verse:
42. Then you will know that I am the Lord

My thoughts:
It's interesting that God takes a more forceful approach here. His people will be his people no matter what. Even if they don't want it, God will get what he wants. Interesting.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ezekiel 19

Yo momma

Summary:
Israel's mother is a lioness who had a strong lion cub, which they eventually tied down in Egypt. Another of her cubs became a strong lion until the nations trapped in and led him to Babylon.

Israel's mother was a vineyard that was beautiful but is now burnt and destroy.

This should make you cry.

Key verse:
14. This is a lament and is to be used as a lament.

My thoughts:
I don't quite follow this allegory for the princes of Israel. Maybe the two lions are Israel and Judah. Maybe they are two eras of Israel's power. I dunno.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ezekiel 18

They who sin, die.

Summary:
Some people think that children die for their parent's sin, but it is the sinner who will die.

Imagine a righteous man, with a sinful son but a righteous grandson. Only the sinful son will die. Sin is not shared.

If you are a sinner, but repent and turn your life around, then God won't remember your sin. If you a righteous but then throw your life back into sin, then your righteousness was useless. Is that not just the most just thing you've ever heard of?

God will judge everyone individually. Repent! God doesn't want you to die.

Key verse:
32. For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

My thoughts:
I like this chapter because its logic makes sense to me. It conforms to the nice protestant idea of personal salvation and judgement.

It just makes sense, and gives an opportunity to repent.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ezekiel 17

Two birds

Summary:
God told Ezekiel to tell Israel a story about birds. A big bird took the top of a tree of Lebanon and planted it among traders. The bird took seed from Israel and planted in and it became a fruitful vine. The vine was planted by heaps of water, but the vine saw another bird, and tried to grow towards it. Why would it grow away from its water?

The point is, you can only survive by depending on Babylon who has dominated you. Don't go running to Egypt as you have. The king who makes such a decision will die.

God himself will take a branch and plant it in Israel, and it will be fruitful.

Key verse:
22. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.

My thoughts:
What a strange image. I don't think I quite get it. Why does it have to be birds? Do they provide water? At this stage, God is trying to repress any desire of Israel to get their own independence back by allying with Egypt.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ezekiel 16

Allegoriricious

Summary:
God gave this message to Jerusalem:
You're a mungrel, and were rejected at birth. But I, God, saw you, and decided that you should live. You grew beautiful and we got married. You were a beautiful queen and I gave you beautiful jewellery. But you knew you were beautiful and famous, and used that to be a prostitute. You turned my jewellery into idols. You sacrificed our children. I decreased your power, but you continued. You even pay your men for your prostitution! For this, I'll give you into the hands of all your lovers and they will destroy you and all you find precious.

Your mother was bad, but you are worse. Sodom and Samaria are more righteous than you. But you will all be restored. You will get what you deserve, but I won't forget my everlasting covenant.

Key verse:
6. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!"

My thoughts:
This is an allegory. God's marriage to Jerusalem symbolises the covenant he made with them, and Jerusalem's prostitution was her alliances to other gods and nations.

I thought this was the one with the two sisters both starting with O, Othaliah and Othah or something. I can't quite remember. That must be somewhere else.

I quite like this chapter. Once someone randomly quoted a verse to me, and I correctly guessed that it was from this chapter. They were amazed. I was like "That's probably from, like, Ezekiel 16 or something". It was awesome.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ezekiel 15

Vinelicious

Summary:
Real wood is better than a vine, especially if the vine is burnt. Jerusalem is like a stupid burnt vine.

Key verse:
6. As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.

My thoughts:
I think God's got something against Jerusalem.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ezekiel 14

Individual salvation

Summary:
The elders came to Ezekiel, but God told him not to let them preach to him, but rather to prophecy to them because they were idolaters. He told them to throw away their idols, and that God had a zero tolerance policy on idols in Israel.

If God has chosen to destroy a nation, then even the most righteous people couldn't save the nation. They'd only be able to save themselves. Not even their children. God told Ezekiel that he'll be happy when God destroys Jerusalem, because Ezekiel will see that the survivors are the righteous.

Key verse:
14. even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.

My thoughts:
cf. Genesis 18, but then cf. what God actually does in Genesis 19.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ezekiel 13

Naughty, naughty prophets

Summary:
God told Ezekiel to tell the 'prophets' that they just make up their prophecies. They don't even care about Jerusalem. God is against them. They put up flimsy walls that look good, but God will smash them down. Some women claim to be prophetesses, but they are just witches. Their magic charms bind people.

Key verse:
14. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord.

My thoughts:
There's no point in inauthentic faith. It's easy to say the right things and make things look good. Don't bother.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ezekiel 12

A visionary God

Summary:
God told Ezekiel that he lived among the wicked. He told him to go into exile in full sight of the people. If they asked what he's doing, he is to say that he is a sign of the exile coming for them. Prince or pauper. They will eat and drink in fear.

There's a saying - "Every vision goes nowhere", but from now on God's visions will be the only visions and they will be fulfilled. It's not about the distant future. It'd about now.

Key verse:
24. For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.

My thoughts:
The first reaction for all of us is to downplay things. Not make anything seem that overwhelmingly important or necessary. It helps us justify ourselves when we don't do things. Israel was doing this with the visions of the time, but it would come back to bite them.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ezekiel 11

Arrogant leaders

Summary:
God showed Ezekiel the arrogant and wicked leaders, and told him to prophecy against them, telling them that they think they are the creme of the crop, but they will die violently. As he prophesied, one of them fell down dead, and Ezekiel was gutted, but God told him that this is what must happen. They are scattered, but they will be restored. Then it'll be sweet.

Then the angels took Ezekiel to Babylon, and Ezekiel talked to the Jews there.

Key verse:
17. I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.

My thoughts:
All the prophecy from around the exile in the Bible prophesies God's judgement on Israel. I wonder how much 'prophecy' there was around telling the people that everything's fine. Most prophecy these days does seem to be very positive and encouraging. A lot of biblical prophecy does not seem to be.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ezekiel 10

Whirlicious

Summary:
God told the scribe to shed the ashes by the angels over Jerusalem. The God's glory started moving and filled the temple. The scribe was then told to take fire from the angels.

There were four angels each with four faces. They were covered with eyes, and all had whirling wheels which were also covered with eyes. They started moving up, and the glory of God went up out of the temple with them. These cherubim were the same creature Ezekiel had seen before.

Key verse:
13. I heard the wheels being called "the whirling wheels."

My thoughts:
Ezekiel even records what he vaguely overheard in these experience.

So God has left his dwelling place. The temple is rejected, and is not destined for destruction. The function of the temple was always temporal rather than eternal.

See the last 8 or so chapters of Ezekiel to see the restoration of the temple, in contrast to God's rejection of it here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ezekiel 9

The mark of God

Summary:
Then God called in guards and a scribe. God came from the Most Holy Place, and told the scribe to put a mark on the foreheads of those who were grieved by Israel's sin. God told the guards to kill everyone who didn't have a mark, beginning with those in the temple. Ezekiel was gutted, but God was determined to get justice.

Then the scribe came back, his job completed.

Key verse:
4. Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.

My thoughts:
I love apocalyptic literature. It makes me so happy.

Some would say God is not merciful with passages like this, but I think that ignores the totality of Israel's rejection of God by this stage.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ezekiel 8

Idols upon idols

Summary:
Ezekiel saw a man with legs of fire and a body of metal. The Spirit took me to the idol in the temple. The one God jealously hates. God told Ezekiel that these idols were driving God from his own sanctuary. But it got worse. God showed Ezekiel what the leaders were doing through a hole in the wall of the temple. They were worshipping detestable things! They think God cannot see. But it got worse. 25 people were in the temple court, worshipping the sun! Judah is also violent, and God won't listen to them anymore!

Key verse:
12. They say, 'The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.

My thoughts:
Integrity. It is a key word for all Christians, especially leaders. So often there's a expectation that all Christians are a bit compromised, but I'm just beginning to discover that there really is a type of Christian who is truly uncompromised, and when you hang around them, you expectations change. Suddenly the fact that you times with God and short and rare isn't just something you know should change but aren't that concerned about. You become deeply embarrassed about your personal integrity about such things. Don't let yourself become surrounded with expectations of compromise.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ezekiel 7

The End

Summary:
The end has come! God's anger is here bringing disaster. The day is now here. There will be no more delays. No-one will stand up to fight, and no-one will benefit from this. If you are outside the city, you'll be killed, if you are inside, you'll die by disease. The few who make it to the mountains will wish they were dead anyway. They will be ashamed of all the things they used to be so proud of.

The most evil empire will take them over. They will seek my will, but they will not hear me.

Key verse:
6. The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come!

My thoughts:
Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you suddenly realise that something you've done wrong has finally caught up with you? You can keep going for ages whilst you ignore it, hoping it gets forgotten, but then it inevitably bites you in the bum. I think Israel was getting this feeling.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ezekiel 6

Remorse

Summary:
Ezekiel prophesied to the mountains that their altars would be destroyed, as would the idols. People will die, and they will know God is God. Some will survive and be scattered, and they'll be gutted about what they've done, and they will know their God.

Their land will be a desert.

Key verse:
9. Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices.

My thoughts:
Here God condemns Israel's land to be a wasteland. We all have wasteland times in our lives, but often it is these times which prove most formative in our lives. It was massively formative for Israel.

Gosh... I should write a book or something...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ezekiel 5

Jerusalem's future is hairy

Summary:
God told Ezekiel to cut off his hair, and to burn a third in his model of Jerusalem, cut a third outside the model, and throw a third into the wind. A few strands would be tucked under his belt, but even some of those would be burnt.

Jerusalem has sinned, and the hair is her people. After the punishment, God will feel avenged. Israel will be revolted. When God shoots, he shoots to kill.

Key verse:
3. But take a few strands of hair and tuck them away in the folds of your garment.

My thoughts:
A continuation of the symbolic prophecy, which I find so appealing. There is an emphasis here that God will be keeping a remnant of a remnant to be his people. The way is narrow!

My Hebrew teacher now knows about this site, so I better be good...

I opened an article about that documentary about "Jesus' " tomb. It was entitled "Church rejects Jesus tomb story", but it was in a tab and the whole title couldn't fit, and it then said "Church rejects Jesus". Awesome.