Old Testament: Ezekiel 12:1-14:11
Ezekiel 12:1-14:11 Pack Your Bands
Chapter 12 Ezekiel acts out another object lessons by packing his bags to indicate everyone needs to get ready to abscond. Yahweh says that though the people have a proverb about how long He takes to fulfill His prophecies of doom, they are going to take place soon. 2 Pet. 3:3-4 says that in the end times people will be saying that everything has continued in the same way since the beginning of time. Boy, are they going to be surprised!
Chapter 13 The prophets of Baal and the Jewish prophets preaching “prosperity” were two types of false prophets during the time of Ezekiel. The Jewish prophets kept preaching peace though there was no peace (v. 10). False prophets in our time preach false prosperity messages. They act like they are prospering though they aren’t (v. 11). They whitewash their message (v. 12) but it caves under pressure and people will be more depressed than when they first heard the frauds.
Women were wearing “magic bands” (vv. 17-23) which supposedly worked life and prosperity for those who should not have it. Prosperity preachers send out trinkets and “prayer cloths” today. They will all be judged (v. 23). Many cults have been started by women (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, cf. Rev. 2:19-23; 1 Tim. 2:12).
Chapter 14:1-11 God refused to give an answer to the elders. They were idolaters and weren’t inquiring of the Lord with good motives. In fact, if someone inquired of a false prophet, God would give a deceptive answer through that false prophet, “And if one of the false prophets gives him a message anyway, it is a lie. His prophecy will not come true, and I will stand against that ‘prophet’ and destroy him from among my people Israel. False prophets and hypocrites– evil people who say they want my words– all will be punished for their sins” (vv. 9-10, Living Bible).
New Testament: Hebrews 7:1-17
Hebrews 7:1-17 Taking Off Your Levites
Chapter 7 compares Jesus to Melchizedek. Melchizedek came out of nowhere and disappeared into nowhere. His story is found in Gen. 14:17-20 and Ps. 110:4 in the Old Testament. He was a “type” or foreshadowing of Christ. Since Jesus was born in the tribe of Judah (vv. 13-14), He could not be a Levitical priest. However, He could fulfill the type of Melchizedek.
After Abraham had won a fortune in his war with various kings, he wanted to give an offering to Yahweh. Abraham preceded Moses and the Levitical priest system so he gave a tenth of all he had just gained (v. 4) to the king of Salem. The king of Salem, Melchizedek, was also a priest of Yahweh. He had no pedigree that was known, thus he was “without father, without mother” (v. 3a). In that sense, he was eternally a priest like Christ (v. 3b).
Normally, tithes (one tenth) would be given to the Levites who are descended from Abraham. Melchizedek obviously was not a relative of Abraham but collected his offering and blessed him (v. 6). That made Melchizedek greater than Abraham (v. 7). Levites, as mortal men, received offerings from mortal men but in the case of Melchizedek men gave their offerings to someone who appeared to be immortal (v. 8). In fact, Levi was still in Abraham, so to speak, when Abraham gave an offering to Melchizedek. In that sense, Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek (vv. 9-10).
The writer is trying to prove that the Levitical system wasn’t perfect. If it was perfect, there wouldn’t be a need for another priest who was like Melchizedek (v. 11). But Ps. 110:4 (v. 17) says that there will be another priest on the order of Melchizedek. That priest is Christ.
The writer goes on to say that since there is a change in priesthood, there must be also a change in the system that God is superintending (v. 12). We dispensationalists call that a new dispensation! It means that God relates to mankind in different ways at different times like before and after the Fall, before and after the flood, before and after the Law. It does not mean that salvation is through anything other than faith in Christ. But in the times before Christ, salvation was by obeying the system God had set up during that particular time and looking forward to the sacrifice of Christ. Now we look backward to the sacrifice of Christ. Salvation is always by faith no matter the dispensation.
The writer is trying to exhort the Hebrew readers to stick with their Christian commitment and Christ. Christ is superior to Abraham and the Levitical system since He is like Melchizedek who was superior to Abraham and was priest outside the Law (vv. 15-16).
Psalm 105:37-45 History 101, Part 3 A Hymn About Israel’s History By Anonymous Or Maybe Even David
Proverbs 27:3 Avoid A Sandman
I have a bad back and a bad heart. Doctors may make it seem worse than it is. But they tell me not to lift anything more than ten pounds. A lot of rocks and a bag of sand would probably weigh more than ten pounds.
Here’s what’s more than ten pounds. The weight of the grief that a fool will dump on you. You may have the gift of mercy but Solomon (and God!) is warning you “not to suffer a fool gladly.” By the way, it was the Apostle Paul, not Shakespeare, who was rebuking the Corinthians who were “suffer[ing] fools gladly” (2 Cor. 11:19).
You don’t owe anyone who is abusing you.
They can fracture your back or burst your heart.
Get away from them.
Choose Life: Scripture: Hebrews 7:1-2 NASB “Cheerful Giving”
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.” Hebrews 7:1-2
These Scripture are sometimes used to indicate that we should give ten percent of our income to the church during the church age. Of course, this passage doesn’t say that. It says that Abraham, before the law was given, gave a tenth on one occasion to a priest named Melchizedek. It doesn’t say that he continued to practice tithing and gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
Notice also that Abraham wanted to honor Yahweh because He had helped Abraham wipe out several pagan kings. He gave “a tenth of all the loot” (Gen. 14:20, Living Bible).
You know if Ed McMahon were to show up on my front porch with one of those gigantic checks, I’d give more than one tenth to God! (Of course, it’d be weird if Ed showed up on my porch since he moved on from this earth several years ago.) Abraham had just had a windfall.
Abraham, in this instance, is not a model of all for our giving today. We rarely derive doctrine from the historical sections of Scripture. This is especially true when God has given us two entire chapters on the subject in 2 Corinthians 8-9. The New Testament never commends ten percent giving. The practice is hardly mentioned at all and only in accounts in the gospels of the Old Testament law or here as an illustration.
Ten percent giving was not the norm under the law anyway. There were three tithes in the Old Testament that totaled about 23 1/3% giving (cf. Lev. 27:30 and Num. 18:21 for the first tithe, Gen. 14:22-27 for the second tithe, and Gen. 14:28-29 for the third tithe). In the New Testament, if you had two coats, you should give one away (cf. Luke 3:11). That was 50% giving. The poor widow put in all she had (cf. Mark 12:42-44). That was 100% giving. Now we can go back to 2 Cor. 8-9 to read about grace giving.
We are called to use our brains when we are budgeting. God loves a “cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). So when you give, give with joy.
When you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
If you are able to give 10% of your income with joy, you don’t have to stop. Some people cannot afford to give 10%. They should not feel guilty. Some people can give more than 10%. They should give more than 10%. They are not “off the hook” by just giving 10%.
I think a good guideline is to “stretch but don’t strain.” In other words, don’t give more than you can and neglect your children or leave your bills unpaid. That would not be responsible. But being responsible would mean that you should try to give more and more as you can. Stretch to make it to 10% and then try to go beyond that. Go beyond 10% if you can. God doesn’t look at how big your giving is as much as how big your heart is.
What’s in YOUR wallet?
How much of it can you give to God’s work?
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: Taking Off Your Levites