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



Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hosea 3

Relove

Summary:
God told Hosea to go and love his wife again, even though she's unfaithful. That's what God did for Israel. So Hosea gave her an offering and told her to stop being unfaithful and to live with him.

Israel will be without God for a long time, but they will come back.

Key verse:
1. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods

My thoughts:
It is quite a good image for God to make. Often we want God to forgive us, and sometimes he seems so unforgiving. But we must realise that in Israel God puts up with anguish equivalent to a man who's wife is openly and unrepentantly sleeping around. Yet God still forgives.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hosea 2

Son, tell your mother she's a whore

Summary:
God told Hosea - I am separated from your mother, so rebuke her. I don't care about her kids. She's a whore and I'm against her. I gave her everything but she wanted more from other men. I will ruin her, but then lead her into the desert and have a chat, and restore her to the joy she had when she was young. Everything will be sweet, and our covenant with each other and the earth will be restored.

Key verse:
16. "In that day," declares the Lord,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master.'

My thoughts:
So Israel is God's wife in this image and Israel had made a cuckold of God by chasing other gods, just like what Gomer did to Hosea. God doesn't like being humiliated.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hosea 1

I will chop her into messes: cuckold me!

Summary:
Hosea was a prophet during Uzziah and Hezekiah's reigns. God told him to marry a prostitute, Gomer. They had a son who God told him to call Jezreel, because Jehu would be punished for his massacre there. They had two more kids who God told them to call "Unloved" and "Not my people" cos that's what Israel had become to God.

But though they are not God's people now, they will become his sons.

Key verse:
10. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'

My thoughts:
Ah, good ol' Hosea. Famous because God forced him to be a cuckold and to give his kids retarded names. Following God doesn't usually make you life nice and comfortable, despite what many churches try to sell.

Like in Ezekiel, God is using a physical reality to point to a spiritual reality.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Daniel 12

Everlasting life or not everlasting life

Summary:
After that Michael will come and save all the people whose name is in the book. The dead will rise to be judged. Daniel asked how long it would take for this to happen, and he got a freaken' cryptic answer - "It will be for a time, times and half a time."

Daniel wanted to know the outcome but got no answer. There would always be the righteous and the wicked. It would take about 3.5 years from when the temple got desecrated to when it was sweet again, and people need to sweat it out for those 3.5 years.

Key verse:
2. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

My thoughts:
This is the most explicit mention of resurrection in the Old Testament. Some rise to go to life, and others to go to death.

3.5*2=7

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Daniel 11

Hellenistic history

Summary:
So a bunch of stuff is in the book of truth that accurately prophesies basically the next few hundred years of history in the Near Middle East up until Antiochus the Pig Slayer, but then goes a bit further which doesn't seem to be accurate, according to some.

Key verse:
2. Now then, I tell you the truth

My thoughts:
This chapter has already been discussed somewhat in this chapter due to some eager beavers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Daniel 10

A weird man

Summary:
Daniel stopped eating good food for three weeks after seeing a vision of a big war. After the weeks Daniel was at a river and he saw an awesome man/angel who no-one else saw. The man had been on his way for three weeks but had been held by Persian spirits until the arch-angel Michael came and whomped. The man strengthened Daniel and encouraged him in the vision. The man was fighting Persian powers, but would soon be fighting Greek powers, but right now he would tell Daniel some of the book of truth.

Key verse:
13. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

My thoughts:
There's some interesting stuff here. From here we get the belief of nations having spiritual beings associated with them. We get the idea that Michael is Israel's angel. It also gives an answer as to why prayers sometimes take time to be answered. Because all our angels are fighting demons. That appears to be the implication in this text anyway.

Michael is an odd character in the Bible. To Jehovah's Witnesses he is Jesus. To Christian's he definitely exists, but he just kinda skirts around the Christian canon and occasionally dips his feet in.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Daniel 9

Prayers and sevens

Summary:
Daniel knew from Jeremiah that the exile would last 70 years. Daniel confessed Israel's sins and rebellion. Israel had suffered just as Moses said. Daniel pleaded for forgiveness for Jerusalem.

When he was praying, Gabriel came and told Daniel that Israel had seventy 'sevens' (weeks?) to clean up their sin. After Jerusalem is ordered to be rebuilt there will be an anointed one after seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens'. After sixty-two 'sevens'', the anointed will have nothing. There will be an evil covenant for a seven, in the middle of which sacrifices will stop and the temple desecrated.

Key verse:
18. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

My thoughts:
This key verse plays a big part in my prayers to God when I ask for stuff. I don't deserve it, but I know God is merciful.

Anywho, the 'sevens' stuff is intentionally cryptic by the author. There are many theories on the intertubes about what they mean, and many people will associate them with endtimes. You can look them up on the internet, as I don't have time. Either that, or you can wait a few hours for Deane's interpretation in a comment! Like clockwork.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Daniel 8

This time, only two beasts

Summary:
Daniel had a vision of a ram with two horns, one bigger than the other. He was powerful, but then a goat who rushed above the ground came from the west and beat the ram. At the height of the goat's power, it's horn was split into four. One of the horns took over God's people and desecrated the temple and considered himself God. This blaspheme lasted 2,300 days.

Gabriel, the angel, described the vision to Daniel. The ram was the Medes and Persians, and the goat was Greece. The horns were kings. The final horn will get much power, but will eventually be defeated by God himself.

It was a vision about the future.

Key verse:
25. he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

My thoughts:
This is obviously referring to Antiochus Ephiphanes who was overthrown in the Maccabean revolt.

There's really no way to win. People say that the Bible contains no predictive prophecy, but when you show them something which accurate describes an event in the future, they just say it was written after the event.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Daniel 7

The four beasts-type thingees

Summary:
In a vision, Daniel saw four beasts come out of the sea. The first was a lion with wings, which then lost its wings and became more like a person. The second was a bear who ate. The third was a winged leopard with authority. The fourth was different and had ten horns and was really scary. A little horn came out from the ten and uprooted three other horns. It was a boastful man.

God in his majesty came and whomped and killed the last beast. Then a man came before God and he was given an eternal kingdom and was worshipped.

The beasts were kingdoms, and the fourth was a terrible kingdom. There would be ten kings before one came and usurped three kings and slandered and oppressed God's people. But God will give authority back to his saints.

Key verses:
13-14. In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

My thoughts:
How do you spell worshipped? worshiped?

Anywho.

It'd be tempting to think that the man in these key verses was the saints of God who rebelled against the Greek rule (the fourth beast). Perhaps even this man was the first Maccabean king. However, I struggle to see a Jew describing such a man as one who "was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him." To me this seems to point to a much more unique and significant figure such as someone who became viewed as Jesus did.

Also, though Deane may disagree, the third kingdom seems to correspond better with Greece than the final beast. Many would say the last beast is Rome, and if you view Jesus as this 'son of man' then the timing does seem right. We can't pretend to have any certainty, but a retrospective view in light of Jesus gives this passage massive prophetic significance.

There are lots of stuff on teh tubez about this chapter, and the pictures in this one are my favourite. People have fun drawing the fourth beast.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Daniel 6

Lions in the Daniel den

Summary:
Daniel was made administrator of the entire Empire, and his peers were jealous and realised that they could bring him down if his religion was illegal. So they convinced the King to make prayer illegal, on penalty of being thrown into a den of lions. But Daniel kept praying, so he had to be thrown in with the lions. The King stressed all night when Daniel was in there, but the next morning, the King rushed to the den, and Daniel hadn't been eaten. God had saved him, and the King threw Daniel's accusers in the den and they died. The King issued a decree that everyone should honour Daniel's God.

Key verse:
10. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.


My thoughts:
Notice that Daniel makes no attempt to hide his expression of faith. One of the points of the beginning of Daniel is the lack of compromise in adversity.

Also notice that Daniel prays towards Jerusalem. This type of prayer is common now in Muslims praying towards Mecca, but the concept also has strong history in Judaism, and possibly in early Christianity. Many synagogues were built facing Jerusalem.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Daniel 5

The writing's on the wall

Summary:
Anyway, the new King had a big banquet with Jerusalem's treasures. Suddenly a massive hand wrote on the wall. None of the magicians could interpret it, so Daniel was brought up. Daniel gave the interpretations but refused any reward.

The new King wasn't humble like his father, Nebuchadnezzar, so the words on the wall meant "You have been judged, your days are numbered, and you'll lose you kingdom to Persia."

That night Darius the Persian took over.

Key verse:
25. This is the inscription that was written:
Mene , Mene , Tekel , Parsin

My thoughts:
The Persians and the Medes are very similar and overlapping people groups, and can pretty much be considered the same within the Bible.

So by now Daniel has very much fit into the 'dream interpreter' role. He's not really a prophet at this stage per se. More like Joseph.

I'm tempted to do the Greek version of Daniel from now, but that would screw up my 1189 days. Not going to happen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar goes crazy

Summary:
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a massive tree which everything lived under, which he wanted Daniel to interpret. Then, in the dream, an angel came and declared that the tree was to be chopped down and that he was to become like an animal. It meant that Nebuchadnezzar would lose his power and become like an animal for a time, so that he would know that God is God, and then he would be restored. God left the stump.

A year later when Nebuchadnezzar was boasting about his acheivements, all this happened, and stopped seven years later when he glorified God.

Key verse:
27. Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.

My thoughts:
This reads like a conversion experience for the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, and the precise details of it (ie. that is was actually written by Nebuchadnezzar himself) does, admittedly seem unlikely. The simpler explanation, I guess, would point to this as more Jewish propaganda, if you like. Who knows though.

The point is clear. God is bigger than any king or empire.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Daniel 3

One is real shiny

Summary:
Nebuchadnezzar made a massive statue to be worshipped. Everyone was to bow down when the music started, on penalty of fiery furnace death.

Some people pointed out that the Jews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in particular, weren't bowing down. Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with the furnace, but the three stood firm, and didn't fear death. So they were thrown into a furnace so hot that the guards who put them in there died.

But then there were four people in the furnace, and one looked like Jesus. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out and were unharmed. Nebuchadnezzar was amazed, praised God and protected the Jews against slander.

Key verses:
17-18. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

My thoughts:
This is a nice story of standing for one's principles even in the face of death. In many ways, they is said in the key verse, the fact that God saved them is a side point. The main thing here is that they stood up for their faith under intense persecution. I, therefore, unambiguously state with 100% certainty that this was written during the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Daniel 2

A big statue

Summary:
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, but refused to tell his magicians it. He made them tell him what his dream was and what it meant. The magicians could not do this, so Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be killed. Daniel was to be killed too, but when he heard the request, he thought he'd give it a go. Daniel and his friends prayed a lot, and God then revealed the dream to him, and Daniel praised God.

The king's dream was a massive statue with a gold head, a silver chest, bronze middle, and iron and clay legs. Each different part was a kingdom, starting with the golden Babylonian kingdom. Once it got to the fourth iron kingdom, however, God sent a rock to hit the legs, and the whole statue shattered. That rock grew to take over the world. It is God's kingdom.

The king was stoked and praised Daniel and his God, and gave his honour.

Key verses:
27-28. No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.

My thoughts:
It is an important distinction that is made in the Bible, between the ability of people to do amazing things and the ability of God to do amazing things through people. Here Daniel makes it clear that the king's task is impossible for people, but only God himself can do it. No person has any special ability.

These four kingdoms are commonly interpreted within Christianity to be Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, with Jesus being the rock that breaks the Roman Empire and grows to be God's undefeated kingdom. Works for me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Daniel 1

Eat your veges!

Summary:
After Babylon had taken over Jerusalem, some of the best Jews were trained for 3 years ti serve the Babylonian king. Four of these were Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), Azariah (Abednego). They didn't want to eat the unkosher food they were offered so they asked to eat only vegetables. The officials didn't want them to be weaker than the rest, but Daniel asked if they could at least do a ten-day test and see if they were any weaker after ten days.

After ten days they were the fittest and healthiest. They were the best four out of all those being trained.

Key verse:
19. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service.

My thoughts:
God honoured their willingness to abstain from choice food because it would have defiled them.

It's kinda weird how we remember Daniel's Hebrew name, but the other three we remember the Babylonian names for. Hananiah Mishael and Azariah are some of my favourite characters in all the Bible.

Daniel will be fun.

Anyway, watch this, and tell me whether you laugh, cry, or smile.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ezekiel 48

Where God lives

Summary:
Each tribe will have their portion of land and there will be the special central one by Judah for the temple and the Priests of Zadok. The good ones. Some of the sacred portion will be city, some for Levites and some for the prince too. Each side of the city will have three gates, so there will be a total of 12 gates. One for each Apostle. I mean tribe.

Key verse:
35. And the name of the city from that time on will be:
The Lord is There.

My thoughts:
Here endeth Ezekiel, and it's final line puts the entire last eight chapters in perspective. All the exact measurements of the temple and everything lead to this point - Yahweh lives here. It is his house. The creator's house is in Israel.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ezekiel 47

The river

Summary:
There was a river coming out from the temple, from the altar at the south. 500 metres down the river they were ankle deep. 1km, and they were knee deep. 1.5km, waist, 2km it was impossible to cross. The river will deep many great trees and will have heapsa fish for fishermen.

Israel is to have the land in Canaan and each person should have fair inheritance. Foreign families who come and settle in the land should be considered as Israelites.

Key verse:
22. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites

My thoughts:
I have heard this river interpreted as the Spirit which flows out to the world from the altar, the place of sacrifice, the cross.

It's cool that here it says that immigrants should be totally assimilated into society, rather than separated as other passages tend to imply. Unfortunately most of Jewish history has held to a hereditary standard of being an Israelite/Jew.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ezekiel 46

Sabbath and gifts

Summary:
The temple will be shut six days a week, and the prince will be first to give his special sin offering on the Sabbath. You have to leave through a different gate than which you entered. The prince will also do the last sacrifice.

A lamb will be offered each day. Gifts to sons last forever, but gifts to slaves last until they are free.

Ezekiel was then shown the cooking at eats rooms for the priests.

Key verse:
17. If, however, he makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant may keep it until the year of freedom; then it will revert to the prince.

My thoughts:
We are sons of God, not servants. And through sketchy hermeneutics, the gifts he gives us we keep forever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ezekiel 45

The allotted lands

Summary:
God's inheritance of land for his sanctuary and the Levite's houses is to be 12km x 10km. They the city is to be 12km x 2.5km. Each tribe will have their own land. The princes will stop oppressing.

There will be a special offering and the prince will do all the offering. A bull is to be sacrifices at the first of every month and a week later. Once a year there is a seven-day Passover and then later there is a seven-day Feast.

Key verse:
8. And my princes will no longer oppress my people but will allow the house of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes.

My thoughts:
Ezekiel speaks of the role of the prince in these passages. He appears to be both king, but also priest in this context. It is quite bizarre and I don't quite understand it in this context. It's almost like Ezekiel is avoiding the word 'king' because kings are bad.

Oh my gosh... it must be Jesus.

Or Samuel

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ezekiel 44

Priests and Levites

Summary:
The Eastern gate was permanently shut because that was God's entranceway. Ezekiel was told to be careful with the purity of the temple. Israel had sinned in the past by letting foreigners in. The Levites can do the temple duties but can't be priests anymore because of their sins.

People are to wear linen when they come to the temple. Priests must have trimmed hair and only marry virgins. They are to distinguish between the clean and the unclean and keep as pure as possible. They will have no land, but God himself will be their inheritance.

Key verse:
23. They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

My thoughts:
Just like reading Leviticus! There is a massive emphasis on purity and holiness. There is always a bit of a tension between holiness and acceptance in the Old Testament.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ezekiel 43

The falling of the glory

Summary:
God's glory then came from the east and entered the temple. God's voice was like a torrent and Ezekiel fell facedown, overwhelmed. God said that he'd live there and Israel's sinning would stop. Ezekiel was told to inform Israel of the temple plan so they could build it perfectly.

There was a sweet altar. There was a special order and process for sacrificing in a way that would please God on this altar.

Key verse:
2. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.

My thoughts:
It does seem hard to rectify the seeming 'perfectness' of this temple and then it's redundancy in Christianity.

It's clear a symbol of Jesus.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ezekiel 42

A wall

Summary:
In the outer court there were heaps of rooms in three floors, on both the north and south walls. They are the rooms for the priests to eat the sacrifices in. The temple area was surrounded by a square wall, 250m x 250m. To keep the sinners out.

Key verse:
20. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common.

My thoughts:
In my experience, walls to keep others out can only be a good thing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ezekiel 41

More temple goodness

Summary:
Then came the outer sanctuary, which had sweet jambs, and then he measured the jambs of the inner sanctuary. This was the Most Holy Place. The temple had thick walls, with ascending side rooms which got bigger as you went up. Everything seemed to be about 50m long. The temple was decorated by alternatine palm trees and cherubim. The cherubim had a lions face and a human face. There was also a wooden table - God's altar.

Key verse:
4. He said to me, "This is the Most Holy Place."

My thoughts:
This is similar in style to the end of Revelation. Measurements seem to play a part in apocolytic literature.

Anyway, it looked something like this.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ezekiel 40

A brand new temple

Summary:
25 years into the Exile, a bronze man with a ruler (3.5m long) showed Ezekiel the new temple.

The wall around it was 1.5 ruler lengths. The east gate was 1 ruler length deep. There were porticos and palm trees. There was a similar north and south gate, and an outer court. There was an inner court. All the measurements were in proportion with one another. There were rooms for preparing sacrifices by each of the gates going to the inner court. There was a room for the priests too. The court was 50m by 50m. The temple itself had sweet sweet jambs.

Key verse:
4. Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see.

My thoughts:
Ezekiel's temple has never been built but it symbolises the potential perfection of Israel's cultic worship, which they never acheived. The dimensions and structures point to the holiness of the hypothetical building.

The rest of Ezekiel is basically a desciption of this building Ezekiel saw in the vision.

What's a jamb?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ezekiel 39

Magog

Summary:
Gog will fall in Israel. Israel will know God's holy name. Israel will use Gog's weapons for fuel for years. Israel will be Gog's grave. The land will have to be cleansed from all the dead bodies. The wild animals will be called together by God to eat their flesh. People will then know who God is and what he did to Israel and why. God will bring them back from exile though.

Key verse:
29. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.

My thoughts:
I wonder if this battle between Israel and Gog actually happened. Was it post-exilic?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ezekiel 38

Whose Gog?

Summary:
God doesn't like Gog and will lead them away by hooks. They will go and attack a recovering nation. They will plan to pick on a defenceless people. They will go against Israel. On that day God will be angry. The earth will shake and God will attack Gog. Then people will recognise God.

Key verse:
10. On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme.

My thoughts:
This chapter is difficult to get your head around. It's hard to know who the text is referring to in some verses. Who is Gog anyway?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ezekiel 37

Dry bones

Summary:
God led Ezekiel through a valley of dry bones.
G: Can they live?
E: I dunno
G: Prophesy. Tell them that God will bring them to life.
So Ezekiel did, and the bones rattled together and became flesh
G: Prophesy to give them breath.
So Ezekiel did. They were an army.

Israel has lost all it's hope, but God can turn death into life.

Ezekiel got two sticks. One for Israel, and one for Judah. He then stuck them together. They would be one nation under one king again and their sin would stop. David will be king and they will have an everlasting covenant.

Key verse:
3. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know."

My thoughts:
Gotta be one of my favourite chapters in the Bible, at least the Old Testament. Its point is obvious; God can restore against impossible odds. It is also awesome that it is by Ezekiel's words that Israel is brought back to life. Words can bring life or death, but in Ezekiel they bring life.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ezekiel 36

Happy Mountains

Summary:
God assured the mountains that the surrounding nations would be punished for enjoying the downfall of Israel's mountains. But Israel's mountains will be fruitful and inhabited again. God's fed up with the taunting of the other nations. God sent his people away, but they only profaned his name amongst the nations, which concerned God. God was saving his nations for his own name's sake. Not because Israel deserved it.

God will gather his people, wash them clean and give them a new heart. They will have God's Spirit and will prosper. They will regret your sins. God has heart Israel's cry and will restore the land from desert to Eden.

Key verse:
26. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

My thoughts:
Hmm... Ezekiel seems to have an obsession with Eden, and the garden thereof. It is definitely held up as an ideal to which the nations and other landscapes are compared. It is located in Ezekiel, but this appears to be difficult to harmonise with Genesis. It could be referring to a different place, or the could be connected in a more roundabout way.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ezekiel 35

Mount Seir 5u><><0rz

Summary:
Mount Seir will become a wasteland because they handed Israel over to be killed. God will then hand them over. They were so happy when Israel became destroyed, because they thought they'd get the land, but God will punished Mount Seir and Edom in accordance with this sin.

Key verse:
13. You boasted against me and spoke against me without restraint, and I heard it.

My thoughts:
Mount Seir appears to be a significant Edomite mountain.

If I were up to date, I'd hit the New testament in about 69 days from now. Which is quite soon. I'm 24 days behind. I'd love to hit the New Testament on the right day, and I should be able to do it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ezekiel 34

A good shepherd

Summary:
Shepherds who only look after themselves and not their sheep are dumb. This is what Israel's leaders are doing. God is against such shepherds, and they won't be able to feed themselves. God himself will be the shepherd to replace these useless leaders, and he will draw together his flock. Some sheep are good, and some are bad. They should take more than they need. The weak sheep have been pushed aside by others, but will be led by David under God. God will bless them and look after them. He'll break their yoke.

Key verse:
12. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.

My thoughts:
The image of a leader as a shepherd is very Davidic, and Jesus, the Son of David, of course refers to himself in this way.

I think the moral of this chapter is that if we do a crap job, then God'll just do it for us!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ezekiel 33

The Guard

Summary:
When a country is about to be attacked, the people appoint a guard to warn everyone when the army comes over the horizon. If you hear the warning and do nothing, then it's your own fault if you die. If the guard doesn't give the warning, then it's his fault. Ezekiel is this guard for Israel.

Israel moans in their sin, but God doesn't want them to die. He wants them to repent! Don't rely on your past, or let your past destroy your future. Whatever you choose to be from now will be what you are judged on. This is justice.

Ezekiel was informed that Jerusalem had fallen. Abraham was one good man and he had the land. Judah had thousands of people, but because of their sin, they could not keep the land. Those who have happened to survive will die in other ways. They cannot hide.

People loved to listen to Ezekiel and they always responded in the right ways, but they didn't put it into practice. Ezekiel was an entertainer for them.

Key verse:
31. My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.

My thoughts:
This is a massive challenge! I've been a church-going Christian for a long time, and I know that if you have half a brain then you can always say the right thing at the right time and people will think that you're an awesome Christian. But this means nothing to God. Hear God's Word and do what it says.