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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB November 2

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Nov 01
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Ezekiel

3:18-19 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. This is a sobering thought! I wonder what the penalty would be.

4:5 I am requiring you to bear Israel's sins for 390 days-one day for each year of their sin. I recently read some commentary from Stephen Jones (from his article on Intercessors) on this stretch of Ezekiel and his odd assignment of cooking his food over dung and lying on his side 390 days to bear the sins of Israel and 40 days for the sins of Judah:

Look at Ezekiel 4, where the prophet interceded for Israel, a nation that was going into captivity for its sin. The prophet was instructed to identify with Israel in two ways. First, he was to eat food cooked with (or over) dung (Ez. 4:12). This was to identify him with the people whose priests had fed them with the traditions of men that sprang from the idols of their own hearts. The Hebrew word for "dung" is gelel, which literally means "balls," and is a reference to sheep or goat dung, which looks like little balls. Ezekiel's favorite Hebrew word for "idol" is gillul. It literally means "a log," and is a reference to human dung.

In other words, the priests had been eating the Word of God and after digesting the food, they were feeding the people with dung. The priests were teaching the traditions of men-man's interpretation of the Word, or what is left of it after man has processed it internally

Secondly, the prophet had to lie on his left side for 390 days for the House of Israel (Ez. 4:4-5) and another 40 days for the House of Judah (Ez. 4:6). In doing this, the prophet identified with the captivities of both Israel and Judah, in which they would be subjected to the dung of human traditions, rather than any real understanding of the Word of God. Of course, the "remnant of grace" among them would always have a better understanding of God, but as Paul says, "the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:5-7).

4:13 Then the Lord said, "This is how Israel will eat defiled bread in the Gentile lands to which I will banish them!" Bread is typically associated with Jesus and His Word that sustains us. So here again, we find Israel eating defiled bread or consuming corrupted Scriptures among the Gentiles. I find this very interesting in light of all the Scriptural errors we have been uncovering together this year. I think this hits close to home.

5:4 Then take some of these hairs out and throw them into the fire, burning them up. A fire will then spread from this remnant and destroy all of Israel. The word "remnant" caught my eye here so I checked out NAS: "Take again some of them and throw them into the fire and burn them in the fire; from it a fire will spread to all the house of Israel." It doesn't say "destroy" in this version but just that the fire would spread to the house of Israel. I wonder if this might be a good fire from the remnant, not a truly destructive fire?

5:6 ...but she has rebelled against my regulations and decrees and has been even more wicked than the surrounding nations. She has refused to obey the regulations and decrees I gave her to follow. One of the ways that "Jerusalem" (or Old Jerusalem of the flesh) is considered more wicked than surrounding nations is because she is more accountable for her sins. Since the Israelites were entrusted with the law and hence, knew what God required, they were more accountable to God than the pagan nations around them who were ignorant of God's law. Today, the Church is also more accountable than the nations because we have the law "written in our hearts."

5:12 A third of your people will die in the city from disease and famine. A third of them will be slaughtered by the enemy outside the city walls. And I will scatter a third to the winds, chasing them with my sword. This verse explains the object lesson God asked Ezekiel to do in 5:1-3. And then God repeats Himself as to the judgments in 6:12 (below).

6:8-9 But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. I wonder if we believers are a product of those escapees today?

6:12 Disease will strike down those who are far away in exile. War will destroy those who are nearby. And anyone who survives will be killed by famine. I believe these are the same in the end times.

Hebrews

Let us be reminded of our audience: Hebrew believers, and specifically Hebrews 3:1 addresses the audience: Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling... It appears that he is speaking to the "called" who are the aspiring overcomers. This entire passage is devoted to the 1,000-year Millennial Kingdom that had been promised to Israel since the days of Moses.

4:1 (NAS) Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. Paul admonishes that only those who demonstrate their faith through righteous works will inherit the MK. Remember that Paul is not saying these people will lose their salvation, but he is speaking of THE REST-the Sabbath Millennium or the "7th day." This is where the faithful obedient servants will reign with Christ for 1,000 years in the "better resurrection," spoken about in Hebrews 11 and Revelation 20. It is the reward for faithfulness for certain believers.

4:6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience... Our clue that this is not salvation is that it is an obedience issue. The Jews knew that under the Mosaic Covenant, they could obtain the Promise (Promised Land) for obedience. In the "dress rehearsal" back in the Torah, they missed out on the PL at the "first resurrection" for disobedience and had to wait through 40 years of desert training. They eventually got in on the "2nd resurrection!"

4:8-9 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Just as the Sabbath day was a limited period of time, so the Sabbath rest is a limited time. I believe the six days correspond to the first 6,000 years since Adam, and the 7th "day" is coming SOON! Frankly as far as I'm concerned, it can't come soon enough. How can I be so sure this is not salvation we're talking about? Salvation is a free gift of grace, not by works. Check out our next verse:

4:11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

Psalm

103:30 When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. I found it interesting that the word for "earth" (or "ground" in other versions) in the Greek is "adamah" and comes from the word "adam." Also, the word "breath" is the same word for "spirit."