Old Testament: Ezekiel 31:1-32:32
Ezekiel 31:1-32:32 Do The Math
Chapter 31 Ezekiel compares Egypt to Assyria (cf. v. 2b-3). Neither come out very good.
Chapter 32 This chapter contains a lament for Egypt (v. 16). It’s so sad that such a great nation is going down (sarcasm). Look at them now. They’re still not doing so well after such a great start with the pyramids, mathematics and all. The Pharaoh thought he was hot stuff but will end up dead in Sheol (the abode of the dead in the Old Testament) like all the other uncircumcised dead kings (vv. 26-31, cf. Ezek. 28:10).
New Testament: Hebrews 12:14-29
Hebrews 12:14-29 Unshaken Or Stirred
The writer to the Hebrews tells the church that they need to try to get along with everyone, in and out of the church (v. 14a, Rom. 12 :18). They are to continue to grow in holiness or they won’t have a good relationship with the Lord (v. 14b, cf. Ps. 66:18-19). They also will be sanctified perfectly when they reach Heaven or won’t be able to see the Lord in Heaven (cf. 1 John 3:2, Exod. 33:20).
Just as Paul warned in Galatians, we need to keep living in the grace of God (Gal. 5:4). It can lead to bitterness and bad relations in the body (v. 15). Those who live without a good relationship with God can do stupid things like selling their birthright cheap like Esau (v. 16). He forfeited some of his eternal reward (as in bema seat judgment rewards, cf. 1 Cor. 3:10-14) just like they were in jeopardy of doing (v. 17). Some things can not be undone.
The author of Hebrews contrasts Mt. Zion and Mt. Zion. The first is where the law was given, where there was darkness, gloom, and a trumpet blast (Exod. 20:18-19) when the law was given. Mt. Zion is home of Jerusalem, symbolic of the grace of God and the future Heavenly home of Christ. It is the home of angels, all believers throughout time as well as Jesus (v. 22-24). Jesus is the mediator (cf. 1 TIm. 2:5) of the New Covenant whose blood enables us to relate to God. Abel’s blood only called out a curse and vengeance (v. 24, cf. Gen. 4:10-11).
The wanderers in the wilderness were not able to enter the Promised Land when they didn’t listen to God (v. 25). So the Hebrews will lose rewards in Heaven if they do not heed the voice of God.
God shook things up at times in the Old Testament (the quote is from Hag. 2:6; e.g. the earthquake that swallowed Dathan and his kin in Korah’s rebellion [Deut. 11:6; Ps. 106:1]. God will do what He can to get our attention but often we still don’t listen.
Psalm 113:1-114:8 Praising And Quaking Hymns By Ezra
Proverbs 27:18-20 Face To Face
I heard a Zig Ziglar talk a few years back and he advised employees to please their bosses if they want to advance (v. 18). He’s right. If you can’t, change jobs then. Any employer appreciates being supported. The same is for your spouse. Duh.
The Trinity reflect their faces in eternity, wherever they are (v. 19). In Heaven. That’s how Jesus could say that if you saw Him you would see the Father (cf. John 12:45; 14:7). When John 1:1 says that “the Word was with God,” may be taken as Jesus being so close to the Father and Holy Spirit that they are “face to face” (Greek = pros tov Theov, can be possibly taken as “face to face,” at least you can preach it anyway!).
Christian marriages should reflect the relationship amongst the Trinity.
Christian marriage and a relationship with God are both gifts that just keep on giving.
Hell and Abaddon (v. 20, Abbadon is the name of a reigning angel in Hell and comes from the word for “to destroy, therefore here means Hell) are also gifts that keep on giving. I had to tell someone yesterday that they were going to Hell. I had run out of ways of telling him in other ways. He had to hear it straight. It is a last resort. I don’t like to say that to anyone but sometimes some people have to be hit in the head with a rock to get their attention (cf. Matt. 27:23; Acts 23:3).
It is Hell if someone gets everything that they want (v. 20b). Desire is a good thing (cf. Ps. 37:4). Waiting can be a good thing (cf. Ps. 27:14; Rom. 14:23).
God is waiting for the summation of all things (cf. Eph. 1:10, book of Revelation).
So in summary: We should wait for all that is good. We should all reflect each other, being “face to face.”
Try it. And then wait for what you want.
Face it. It’s true.
Choose Life: Scripture: Hebrews 12:15 NASB “No Sourpusses”
“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled . . .” Hebrews 12:15
There is a picture of a cat circulating the internet these days. I believe he’s called “Grumpy Cat.” He looks grumpy.
How you ever felt like this? Back in New Jersey when I was growing up, we called it being a “sourpuss.”
It comes from not fully availing ourselves of the grace of God. Remember in Nehemiah we learned that “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Neh. 8:10). And in Philippians we are commanded to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4)?
Grumpiness spreads quicker than ebola. And in the body of Christ, it is just as deadly.
Joy spreads, too. And almost as quickly.
Don’t be a sourpuss. Smile and spread some joy today.
If you do, you will find that are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
I remember calling one of my professors back when I was in seminary. I said, “Hi Professor, how are you?” His answer, “How am I? In a fallen world?”
Before you get all bent out of shape about a professor with a BA (bad attitude), understand that he was kidding! So what sounded like doubt and discouragement was actually joy. At least joy is what the conversation generated in me. I was ROTFL.
As Christians we can get real legalistic about how we can have fun. But anything within biblical limits is OK for us. So loosen up and have some fun today.
Don’t be a sourpuss.
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: Do The Math