Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 286

The scriptures read are Ezekiel 33-34, Psalm 85 and Revelation 8.

Ezekiel 33. This is a profound chapter that alone justifies the existence of this book. First, God answers Cain's inquiry of whether he is his brother's keeper. God makes Ezekiel the watchman for his people. As the watchman of a city gives warning when danger approaches, Ezekiel is to relay God's warnings about the danger of the way people are living their lives. If he warns them and they ignore him, their fate is on their heads. But if he fails to warn them, then Ezekiel is responsible for their demise.

God is doing this because he doesn't want people to die in their sins. He takes no pleasure from it. Instead he wants them to turn their lives around. He wants them to live.

God also says that a person's past doesn't determine their future. People who were good in the past don't get a pass if they turn bad. People who were bad in the past don't have it held against them if they turn their lives around and start living a good life. The past doesn't veto the present. What you do right now matters.

A survivor reaches the exiles and tells them that Jerusalem has fallen. But the people back in Judah haven't really changed. And the folks who come to hear Ezekiel aren't acting on what he says.

Ezekiel 34. God fires the neglectful, exploitative shepherds of his people. From now on, God will be the shepherd. He will gather and rescue and protect and heal and feed them. He will oversee the stronger ones so they don't bully the weaker ones, which he will strengthen.

He will appoint a Davidic king over them.

Psalm 85. This great trio sings a gospel version of this psalm--in French! Enjoy! (BTW the song ends at 2:12; the rest is bloopers.)

Revelation 8. The seventh seal is opened...and heaven falls silent for a half-hour. It is full of expectation.

Then seven angels with seven trumpets get ready to blow. Meanwhile an angel with a thurible or censer full of coals and  incense (which represents the prayers of the saints) flings it on the earth. And things get bad.

The first 4 trumpets represent (H) the invasions of the Roman Empire by the Vandals, Huns, Saracens and Turks, (P) the disasters inflicted on the Jews by the Romans during the Jewish war, (F) more or less the literal natural disasters depicted, or (S) analogues for the plagues that stuck Egypt before the Exodus, symbolically representing God's judgment on sinful humanity. For more details check out my source for most of this: Revelation: Four Views, a Parallel Commentary, edited by Steve Gregg. I've got to say, though, the part about the trees and the grass burning up sounds like our contemporary ecological nightmares.

Ominous is the angel warning that there are 3 more trumpets to blow.

No comments:

Post a Comment