Old Testament: Ezekiel 40:28-41: 26
Ezekiel 40:28-41:26 Measuring Up
Chapter 40:28-49 An angel (most likely, cf. v. 3) continues to measure the Temple.
Chapter 41 A description of the altar in the Holy Of Holies. Notice that there is no veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place as in the old temples. It was torn after Christ died (Matt. 27:51) to indicate that we have access to the presence of God in this dispensation of the church. In the Millennial Temple it simply does not exist.
New Testament: James 4:1-17
James 4:1-17 Better To Be Humble Than Nimble
James explains to us the reason for quarrels between people. It is because we don’t get what we want (v. 1). People can even commit murder because they can’t get what they want (v. 2). James says that we can have what we want if we ask God (v. 2b). Of course, we have to ask according to God’s will (cf. 1 John 5:14-15). We can not ask for something that is purely worldly (vv. 3-5). To be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God’s (v. 4, cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 6:24). God is jealous for us (v. 5). He longs for a relationship with us which can only come when we humble ourselves to serve Him (vv. 5-6, the quote is from Prov. 3:34).
Our humility protects us when we find ourselves in the midst of spiritual warfare. Pride is the main characteristic of Satan and he tempts us with pride. To oppose him, we must humble ourselves by submitting to God and resisting Satan. The devil, then, has to abscond (v. 7).
If we draw closer to God, He will come closer to us (v. 8a). Again, James does not suggest, rather he commands us to clean ourselves up if we want to draw closer to God (v. 8b). He recommends we get serious with God (v. 9) and promises that God will exalt us if we do (v. 10b, cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:3-5). He emphasizes that humility is the key to a good relationship with God (v. 10a).
We are not to be overly-critical of our brothers and sisters or we will be similarly criticized (cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 7:1-2). By this, James does not mean that we shouldn’t be discerning (cf. 1 Thess. 5:21). In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told us not to judge, just five verses later, we are told not to give dogs what is holy or throw pearls before swine. How could we know who the dogs or swine are if we are not discerning? James is saying that if we want to be the law for others, then God will be the Law and Judge of us (v. 12)!
Finally in this chapter, James warns against being presumptuous, thinking like we are going to live forever (v. 13). He says that we don’t know when we’ll be recalled. He compares our lives to a vapor that is here and then evaporates (v. 14). We should try to live according to God’s will and check out everything we do with Him (v. 15). It is arrogant to think we are the captain of our own lives (v. 16).
It is a sin, actually, to know what God’s will is and then not do it (v. 17).
Psalm 118:19-29 Turning A Corner, Part 2 A Thanksgiving Psalm By Anonymous
Proverbs 28:3-5 Praise The Law-d
The “poor man” in verse 3 might just be a “ruler” (cf. NIV). But it could be a “destitute leader” (HCSB, points out that the Greek translation of the Hebrew renders “wicked man”). It could be that people who see themselves as poor and become elected officials then use their new-found power to oppress and take advantage of the poor. It’s possible. Be careful who you vote for.
Lawless people like other lawbreakers (v. 4a). They hang together. (Read: political parties, churches, etc.) People who love righteousness will end up fighting with them (v. 4b). See Cain and Abel, David and Saul, Jesus and the Pharisees.
Are you sometimes puzzled at what some other people do (v. 5)? You might think some laws make total sense. Other laws don’t make any sense to you. Other people believe just the opposite of what you do. Half of the country votes one way in federal elections. Half vote the other way. Here’s why: some don’t understand God’s righteousness. Others do.
Do you understand the things of the Lord (v. 5b, cf. the Bible)?
Choose Life: Scripture: James 4:7 NASB “Stand!”
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
You may have seen The Exorcist and thought that was a biblical depiction of demon possession. Or maybe you thought the preacher on TV who waved his white jacket around his head was actually casting out demons.
Actually, what the Bible says about conflict with demons is quite simple and straight-forward (cf. blogs, Land Ho!, and Strong). James devoted only one verse in his book to spiritual warfare. He said, “Submit to God” and “Resist the devil.” That was his formula. Submit and resist.
I have had only one blatant encounter with evil but many subtle encounters. The formula proved true every time. Submit to God. Make sure you have no unconfessed sin and submit to His Lordship.
Secondly, resist the devil. The word for resist is related to the word “stand” (“resist” comes from the same root word) found four times in the famous passage on spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-17. God has already won the battle. It is primarily for us to plant our feet firmly and hold that ground. In other words, we are to stand.
Are you being attacked by the devil? Are you taking your stand?
If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
There are many books on spiritual warfare by people like Mark Bubeck that are helpful in fighting the devil. You can check them out here Mark Bubeck.
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: Better To Be Humble Than Nimble