18 November 2006

Nov 18 2006

Today's readings: Ezekiel 17, 18, 19 and Hebrews 13

I am generally reluctant to comment much on Paul's letter to the Hebrews. Perhaps it stems from too many years of watching the 'name it and claim it' TV preachers go overboard on the faith passages in Chapter 11 in particular. It's not up to me to oppose their message, but I don't agree with what some of these ''faith movement'' people have put forth.

The passages in Ezekiel are full of imagery and warning. As I've said here before, the issue for me is that so many of these warnings were ignored and the results foretold came to pass. The attitudes and sin preached against can be found in virtually every Western village and town. Should we think ourselves beyond the reach of God's retribution? Somehow we've come to believe that peace, prosperity, plenty, and the necessity for wicked entertainment are somehow our right. Ain't so.

Sorry for the light posting this week, we've had illness in the family while still working heavy duty hours. Rising at 04:30 every day and getting back home around 12 hours later, just as it begins to get dark, means you feel yourself living in a time tunnel. The tornadoes and related storms that roared through here the other day have added to the stress. Meanwhile, at work I'm trying to figure out the problems with a multimillion dollar piece of machinery that the Germans inflicted upon us. With the time difference and their less-than-inspiring office hours, invisible work ethic, and general ''attitude'', it's been a trial. I spent about 90 minutes the other day on the international call, including being shuttled from one side of their operation to the other, and at the end of it all was no further ahead. Having dealt extensively over the years with the Japanese attitudes, which I don't like, and also with the Europeans (Finland/Switzerland/ Denmark/ Germany /France/Italy), I can't say which aggravates me more.

14 November 2006

Today's Readings 14 Nov.

For today
Ezekiel 7, 8, 9
Hebrews 10:24-39

Ezekiel is one of those books that I always feel I've not studied enough, yet am a bit uncomfortable with those who claim to understand all contained in it and in the book of Daniel. There's a great deal of very heavy imagery, a lot of judgment and retribution against the nation for prolonged and serious violation of the covenant. What makes it truly serious is that that promised judgment did occur, it was terrible, ghastly. And deserved.

Then we go from that reading to Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews for today's portion, and we find therein warnings such as

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Deut 32:35,36
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God is love, and He is full of grace and compassion and mercy. But He has standards, and expectations, and there is a point at which we are called to account.
The judgement upon the people of Israel and Judah was terrible and severe. They did little of a sinful nature that is markedly different than what is common in our society today. Does anyone really think we are somehow immune from the same result?

12 November 2006

Today's Readings 12 Nov.

Ezekiel 1,2,3 and Hebrews 9

God's word is always appropriate, timely, and useful. With the events of the last few months, I've found this to be even more so than other times.
The passage from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us, among other things, that even in the midst of great trial and pain, God Almighty is still in charge and very much aware of what is going on in our lives.
And He cares. He cares not only in a remote and mildly interested sense, but He cares enough to make His interest known. And to seek to engage with us, even though we can not understand His purpose or nature.

The passage from the letter to the Hebrews is also a warning, a reminder that at the end of all of this life on earth, there is an accounting. Verse 27 should be memorized by all.