Old Testament: Ezekiel 29:1-30:26
Ezekiel 29:1-30:26 A Crocodile Rocks
Chapter 29 Ezekiel gave a prophecy about Egypt in this chapter. He gave it in January 587 B.C. It was seven months before the fall of Jerusalem, and only one year and two days after Pharaoh began his siege of Jerusalem. Yahweh compared the Pharaoh, Hophra, to a crocodile (v. 3, “monster). He thought he could really sink his jaws into everything but that was a croc. Yahweh was going to bring him down.
Chapter 30 This chapter contains more on Hophra (v. 37, is it me or does this sound like a Japanese monster movie? or a college in New York?). He is the one that left Zedekiah in the lurch (Jer. 37:5). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed him (vv. 26-30). The chapter is in the form of a lament.
New Testament: Hebrews 11:32-12:13
Hebrews 11:32-40 More Inductees
The writer finishes inducting heroes into the Hall Of Faith but is running out of papyrus:
Inducted were Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets.
Here’s what they did
1) Conquered kingdoms
2) Trusted God’s promises
3) Shut lions’ mouths (Daniel)
4) Quenched the power of fire (Daniel’s friends)
5) Escaped Swords
6) Women received their dead back by resurrection (the widow of Zarephath’s son – 1 Kings 17:22-23; the Shunammite’s son – 2 Kings 4:35-36)
7) Were tortured by being mocked, scourged, imprisonment, stoning, sawn in two (tradition: Isaiah), other mistreatment
None of the above were able to enter into the New Covenant of the Church that was open to the Hebrews.
Notice how many were commended for their faith but were killed or endured extreme suffering! Faith is not a guarantee that we get what we ask from God. These people endured as an example for the Hebrews and for us in this dispensation. Faith is a guarantee of a good relationship with Almighty God!
Hebrews 12:1-13 A Personal Trainer
The writer has tried to encourage the Hebrews to endure though the examples of Old Testament saints. Now he turns to Jesus as an example.
First, he gives an exhortation to throw off the cords of anything that would hold us back in the Christian life (v. 2). Jesus kept His eyes on the goal and stayed the course despite all the opposition against Him (vv. 2-3). He now sits at the right hand of God in Heaven (v. 2).
Jesus had to persevere despite sweating blood in the garden and being flogged and nailed to a cross (v. 4). None of us have had to endure that kind of suffering not to mention the pain of being separated from His Father (Matt. 26:39).
The writer quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 (vv. 5-6) to show the Hebrews that when trials come it may be God’s way of bringing pressure that causes them to mature if they receive with the proper attitude. All good fathers discipline their sons (v. 7). Only illegitimate children go without being trained (v. 8). That being the case, we should submit to God’s discipline (v. 9). He is much better than any earthly father (vv. 9-10). No one enjoys discipline but when we look back on what we’ve endured, we can appreciate it (v. 11).
The writer tells the Hebrews to pull themselves together and quit whining (vv. 12-13). Like them, we need to get on with the race!
Psalm 112:1-10 Not Shaken, Not Stirred A Wisdom Psalm
Proverbs 27:17 Crunch Time
Verse 17 is one of the most important sayings in Scripture. It explains marriage more than any other passage, if you understand the use of another as “woman.”
Why do people marry who they marry? Why do they choose who they choose?
People choose whom they choose because their antennae go up and they find someone that allows them to finish unresolved problems they had in their families growing up. That is the gruesome truth. We are all sinful and inherit sin from our parents (cf. Exod. 20:5; Deut. 9:5; Rom. 3:23, 5:12). We pick up a lot of sin while we’re growing up. Then we crave resolving it.
God has things worked out that way. A subtitle of a book on marriage tells most of the story, “What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” God wants to build godly families and godly disciples. A sinful generation doesn’t want to hear this truth but that is the way things are.
If you think about it, doesn’t that explain a lot of things in your family? And when you do work some things out, you will find that you will have a very enjoyable life.
Now you understand why verse 17 is one of the most very important bits of information you’ll every find.
So now it’s crunch time.
Choose Life: Scripture: Hebrews 12:3 NASB “Stay The Course”
” . . . consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3
The whole problem with the readers of the original papyrus of the book of Hebrews was that they were in danger of defecting. Some were playing both ends against the middle and offering sacrifices at the Temple while attending Christian fellowships. The writer of Hebrews was doing everything he could to encourage them and exhort them to “stay the course.”
He used several arguments in the book so far to try to keep them on course. Of course, they had already been mocked and threatened by the legalists and Judaizers. One thing he knew they hadn’t endured was martyrdom (or they wouldn’t be there to hear his message!). His reasoning so far was to show them that they were in a new and better dispensation. The time period of the church had far more blessing than the previous dispensation of the Mosaic law. In the preceding chapter, he reminded them of those who had suffered but still had not come into the blessings that they now were experiencing. The words “better,” “perfect,” and “eternal” are recurring words that tell us the writer’s theme. They were living with the New Covenant blessings which were better, perfect, and eternal. It did not make sense to revert back to a lesser, imperfect, and temporal system.
Jesus sweat blood when He prayed in Gethsemane. He bled on the cross and in His torture on the way to the cross. Others, as cited in chapter 11, as well as Christ had given their lives for the faith. Though they may have been mocked or threatened, they had as yet not been martyred for their faith. Those who went before them were examples of those who were courageous for God.
What are you experiencing this week? Are you being mocked or challenged for your faith?
You have not gotten to the point of martyrdom yet.
Consider Jesus who endured torture and hostility against Himself. Consider Jesus who had to endure taunts and beatings from sinners.
Don’t grow weary or lose heart.
If you don’t
don’t lose heart or grow weary, you will find that you are accepting God’s life (Deut. 30:19)!
You might be asking, “Hey, I’m a committed Christian but I don’t know if I’m ready for martyrdom.” Don’t worry about it. God won’t call you to suffer something you’re not ready for. Be content with whatever suffering God is allowing you today. Just realize that some that have gone before you have suffered to the point of death and pray for those who are being killed in our day in the name of Christ.
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Crocodile Rocks