Ezekiel 20 and Psalm 66-67

In Ezekiel 20, like in Ezekiel 8, the elders come to the prophet for consultation. God is not anxious to share with the elders the direction they seek. D. A. Carson provides an explanation in his commentary,

The first is the sheer glory of God: that is one of God’s driving concerns behind the judgments that have fallen and are about to fall. For the sake of his own name God has done what would keep his name “from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight [he] had brought them out” (20:14; cf. 20:22). This theme is further developed in chapters 36 and 39. It is so central in Scripture that we are in danger of overlooking it precisely because of its familiarity.1

In Psalm 66, the psalmist offers up praise to God for all of the rich blessings He has given. The biggest impression for me from this psalm comes at the very end (Ps. 66:19-20). It is the praise that I hope to offer some day soon,

But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Psalm 67 is a plea for the blessing of God. “Lord, please make Your face to shine upon us!” (Ps. 67:1). How can God be please with me and happy with me? It is only because of the sanctifying work of Jesus in my life through the Holy Spirit. God is not please with me because of my appearance, because of the charitable works that I have, or because of how blessed my life is; He is pleased with me because of the redemptive work of His Son with my life.

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

Ezekiel 1 and Psalm 37

This morning I began a new book, Ezekiel. Ezekiel 1 begins with the author sharing his vision of the four creatures. The description was so strange that I went online to see if I could find any artistic renditions. This one is on Pinterest and is of one of the four creatures. Another one was a rendition of the vision of the wheel.

I love the devotional book by D. A. Carson, For the Love of God Volume Two. I will quote from it occasionally in this journal. He gives a very helpful introduction on the book of Ezekiel:

EZEKIEL WAS JEREMIAH’S contemporary. Though he was born into a priestly family, Ezekiel was removed from the temple. In March, 597 B.C., he, young King Jehoiachin, the Queen Mother, the aristocracy, and many of the leading priests and craftsmen were transported seven hundred miles to Babylon. The young king was in prison or under house arrest for thirty-seven years. The exilic community, impoverished and cut off from Jerusalem and the temple, dreamed nostalgically of home and begged God to rescue them. They could not conceive that in another decade Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed. On the banks of the Kebar River—probably an irrigation canal swinging in a loop southwest from the Euphrates—the exiles tried to settle. And here, according to Ezekiel 1, when he was thirty years old and in the fifth year of his exile (i.e., about 593, still six years before the destruction of Jerusalem), Ezekiel received an extraordinary vision. 1

Ezekiel 1:28 closes with,

“…Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”

I would assume that it is very difficult to describe the glory of the Lord with human words and images. But I believe we would definitely know it when we saw it. Today we only experience shadows of His glory but someday, we will be able to experience the fullness of His glory. I imagine it will be more that the greatest visual scenery we have every experienced here on earth.

The heading for Psalm 37 in my Bible is, “He Will Not Forsake His Saints”. How timely for me today to read that! This psalm is rich in promises and encouragement for those who may be down-hearted. Probably the most familiar verse is Ps. 37:4. However, we cannot claim the second part of the verse without realizing the first part. Delighting in the Lord is a lifelong pursuit. It is more than a simple confession – it is a life consuming passion and drive and it affects what happens in the second half of the verse. When our delight is in the Lord, the desires of our heart line up with His will and purpose. Having noted all that, it is a wonderful promise to cling to!

Ps. 37:5 uses the word “Commit” as a apropos description of the action required. It goes “hand in hand” with the second verb in the verse, “trust”. Our responsibility is to trust God and commit our actions and will to Him.

Ps. 37:7, Ps. 37:9, and Ps.37:34 encourage the reader to be patient and still. God’s actions are not predicated on the timetable that I choose.

Ps. 37:17-19, Ps. 37:25-26, and Ps. 37:28 speak about the sustaining power of God in the life of the believer. I find words like, “upholds”, “abundance”, “lending generously”, “blessing”, and “preserved forever”.

1 Carson, D. A. For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998. Print.