Monday, September 3, 2018

Daily Bread for Sep 14, Eze 46-48

Today's readings are Eze 46-48

In Eze 46, we see more guidelines for the rebuilt temple in Ezekiel's time. God is providing these guidelines in detail because the original Promised Land has been deconstructed, occupied by aliens and the Jewish people carried away into captivity. Israel as a nation no longer exists. Just as God gave life to the dry bones in Eze 43, He is calling His children back to the land He gave them, reforming them as a nation and giving them instructions as to how they will occupy their land and worship Him. This is, in many ways, a type of second Exodus, God’s people moving from captivity to freedom in a land He has provided for them.

The temple is the focus of the worship and, once again, the evidence of the presence of God among His people.

In a prophetic reference to the reign of the coming Messiah, Eze 47 relates how a trickle of refreshing water will flow from the temple. In time and as the distance from the temple increases, the trickle will increase in volume. This flowing water is a picture of the new kingdom, how it will begin humbly and continue to grow and flourish, pouring its blessings and abundance into the all the world.  Israel will be reconstituted and function as she did in the pre-monarchy days. But, this time, they will have a “prince” (Eze 44:3; 46:2, etc.) over them, one man ruling over them in unity and peace. For the time being, this will be the king of Israel. But the king is only representative the coming reign of the Messiah. So, Ezekiel’s prophecy serves two purposes. It establishes the order and government of the reunited nation, and it foretells the reign of the Messiah.

The borders of the new land are defined (Eze 47:13-20). They are nearly identical to the original borders. But, this time, there is a provision for any converted aliens to live among God’s people (Eze 47:22-23). This too is a picture of the coming kingdom, a land that is permanent and room for aliens.

Eze 48 shows how the land is to be allotted. It will be distributed among the original twelve tribes. Judah is redefined with the temple in the middle of two regions set apart for the prince. The image prophesied by this arrangement is one of the worship of God, the sacrifice necessary to redeem His children and the ministry of the truth taking place within the presence and person of the prince. 

Ezekiel began on a dark note. It ends with the glory of God. He has returned His children to the land He gave them, given them the design for the new temple and prepared them for the arrival of the Messiah. The process has been painful for His people, but necessary for their continued growth and development.

Many of us can see ourselves in the story of Israel in the Book of Ezekiel. We need the same type of refinement, the same process of purging sin and idolatry from our lives to be brought closer to our Father in heaven. The process is neither pleasant nor easy.  But, if we’re willing to endure it, we, like Israel, will eventually bask in the glory of God.

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