Today's One Year Bible Reading

Ezekiel

27:32 (NAS) "Moreover, in their wailing they will take up a lamentation for you And lament over you: `Who is like Tyre, Like her who is silent in the midst of the sea? There is a lot of reference in our reading to Tyre being in the sea (and some versions it is described as an island). I asked my husband about it because he grew up just a few miles up the road in Beirut. I wondered why it is referred to over and over as being in the midst of the sea and an "island" since it is part of the main landmass of Lebanon. He explained that Tyre used to be an island but Alexander the Great built a natural causeway that made Tyre connected to the mainland. So that's a little bit of history.

28:13-19 There is a lot of controversy as to whether this is only speaking of the King of Tyre, or if it applies on another level. Some believe it is also speaking of Satan, while some think it is speaking of Adam. There appear to be many contradictory descriptions for each option. How could the King of Tyre have been in the Garden of Eden and blameless in his ways? How could Satan have been only a man? I don't think it fits the description of Adam either. I'm sure there's a rational explanation/teaching out there somewhere, but I have not read anything that has convinced me either way. Any observations or thoughts?  I'm certain that there is a lot of symbolism going on here with the reference to the gems, the stones of fire, etc.

Hebrews

Frankly Hebrews is a little intimidating to me. I know it is highly more significant than I know and understand, but I have not had the time to really study it out. We are currently in the chapter of faith, and I like what Stephen Jones says about this chapter:

The tenth chapter of Hebrews ends with a warning to those whose faith is not genuine. There are many who are persuaded of Christ, but who lack genuine faith. Faith comes by hearing the voice of God (Rom. 10:17), while persuasion is a matter of convincing the carnal mind of the validity of a particular fact or viewpoint. Persuasion often appears identical to faith, but they are distinguished in the end by endurance.

Those who are merely persuaded are like most of the Israelites who came out of Egypt. They had justifying faith, but not Pentecostal faith, for they rejected the voice of God at Sinai (Ex. 20:18-21). And so they lacked endurance. When it came time to enter the Promised Land, their lack of faith manifested for all to see. But if we follow the example of Caleb and Joshua, we may confidently apply Heb. 10:39 to ourselves, saying, "We are not of those who shrink back to perdition, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul."

Passover Faith is the single step by which we begin our journey to the Promised Land. It is like a moment in time. Pentecostal Faith is the life of faith in the journey itself. If Passover faith is a point in space, then Pentecostal Faith is the line drawn by many points. It is the line drawn between Egypt and the Promised Land. Those who are faithful in being led by the Spirit, and who endure to the end, will inherit the first resurrection.

These overcomers are those with patience and endurance, both of which describe faith as a line, rather than as a single point. Patience and endurance describe faith that has been tested by time, faith that is proven in the wilderness of real life.

Chapter 11 then gives us examples to true faith among the many Old Testament characters who heard the voice of God, obeyed, and endured to the end.

11:20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. This NLT version is so lame and muddled compared to NAS: By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, [even] regarding things to come. I think this is quite a gem. Though God declared, "Jacob have I love and Esau have I hated," yet here we find Isaac blessing BOTH of his sons regarding things to come. Check out Amplified:

[With eyes of] faith Isaac, looking far into the future, invoked blessings upon Jacob and Esau. In fact, I check out KJV, NIV, and YLT and none of them add "even" as NAS does.

By faith, concerning coming things, Isaac did bless Jacob and Esau. (YLT)

So what am I getting at? Even though Esau was rejected temporarily for God's sovereign plan, Isaac saw into the distant future that Esau would receive the blessing, too! He blessed Esau in faith of what God would do in his life eventually after the short-term plan of revealing contrasts was finished. Isn't that amazing?

11:25-26 He chose to share the oppression of God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. As a parent, I so relate to the concept of delayed gratification. Though some pleasures and treasures seem harmless in and of themselves (if we do not idolize them), it is still better to reject this world's idea of both in anticipation of a greater reward. Not to say we have to take a vow of poverty, but out lives should be poured out and simple in this short age, anticipating all the comforts of paradise later. This age is our school of character development, sacrifice, and relinquishment. Thankfully, it is such a short time! I find myself constantly having to tear my heart away from the temptation of materialism on many different levels. How about you?