GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 7-9

It’s TIME to WEEP over the UNGODLINESS among GOD’s PEOPLE: "Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. So they began with the elders who were before the temple." (Ezek 9:3-6)

In this vision God took Ezekiel back to Jerusalem to show him the wickedness of God’s people. The glory of God moved away from the Holy of Holies and began to depart from the temple fulfilling the saying: “Ichabod—the glory has departed” (1 Sam. 4:19–22; Jer. 7:1–15). Without the glory of God, the temple was just another building; and without the presence of God in our lives, we are just like other people (Exod. 33:12–16).

In Ezekiel chapter 9, six executioners are seen coming from the north (the direction from which the Babylonians were to come) to destroy the idolaters among God’s people. The man clothed with linen may symbolize grace. The glory cloud (symbol of God’s presence) leaves the holy of holies in the temple, grieved away by the idolatry of the people. Those faithful Jews who sighed and cried being opposed the idolatry were sealed by a mark on their foreheads so that they would not be killed.

According to Bible scholars, the sign (or, mark) on the forehead was the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet (tau), which the rabbis said suggested completeness. It is also the first letter of torâ (law). Feinberg notes a fascinating parallel of this incident with that mentioned in Revelation 7:1–3: “Christian interpreters have seen a somewhat prophetic allusion to the sign of the cross. In the earlier script the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet (taw) had the form of a cross. Ezekiel, of course, could not have thought of Christian symbolism nor is the passage a direct prediction of Christ’s cross. It is a remarkable coincidence, however.”

Then the executioners began to slay the idolaters, starting with the elders of Israel, but God’s command has one restriction: “Do not come near anyone on whom is the mark,” says God. The literal fulfillment of this judgment is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:17–19. God’s judgment proceeds without exemptions, as it did when the death angel struck all the homes which did not have blood on the doorpost (Exodus 12:13). Those who demonstrated a righteous attitude through true repentance and remorse were marked out from the hardened rebels and spared from the punishment.

Let us note that God’s judgment will begin with His people (v. 6b). Those who obey God’s commands and weep over the ungodliness among God’s people will be spared (see Rev. 7:2–4; 9:4; 14:1). "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17)

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