Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21 - Vision, Possibility, and Failure

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 42:1-43:27
Matthew 20:29-21:22
Proverbs 17:25-18:6
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Ezekiel 43:3-5
3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

Ezekiel's vision of a restored temple, Jerusalem, and Israel was very detailed. It brings to mind the visions Moses received from God. Ezekiel's ideas about how God would bring his people out of their captivity in Persia parallels the Exodus story of how God brought the nation of Israel out of bondage to Egypt.

Sadly, the actual story of Israel's return from exile (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther) does not seem to live up to the promised possibilities Ezekiel prophesied. The temple they rebuilt was modest, and the "glory of the Lord" is noticeably absent from the accounts of its dedication. The city of Jerusalem was a shamble for years, and the wall around it lay in ruins for almost a century after the exile until Nehemiah took up the cause as an act of faith. There just weren't enough people who had enough faith to embrace Ezekiel's vision. That lack of faith led to a lack of action, and so most of the promises Ezekiel delivered were left unclaimed.

Response and Action:
God has made known many great and precious promises to me through the pages of Scripture and the recorded history of his people. He has sent his Son, Jesus, into the world, and given the teachings of the apostles (who were taught, empowered, and sent out by Jesus). In order to claim God's promises, my faith and action are necessary.

O God, give me a heart of faith and the will to act in faith. Thank you for the promise of life, salvation, hope, and eternity you have extended to me through Christ Jesus. Give me the ears to hear your promises, and the obedience and belief to act upon them. Help me to experience the depth and abundance of life promised to all who will respond to you and act in faith. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  
Psalm 146:5-8
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
by Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas

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