Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5- Carrying Baggage

November 5, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 12:1-14:11; Hebrews 7:1-17;
Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 27:3

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. 
~Charles Dudley Warner

Ezekiel 12:1-14:11

Often when two people initially get married they are unaware of something that has been brought into the sacred relationship, the holy union.  Even though there are only two people who took the vows and promised to love and cherish one another til death does them part, there are other people and past relationships in the souls of these two individuals that join the family unseen.  Sometimes we call these past relationships-baggage. Carrying this "baggage" into a relationship can cause problems and is something that must be dealt with over time.  Today, Ezekiel is told to carry baggage out of Jerusalem as a picture of what will happen to the Judeans who are living in Jerusalem, who are about to experience captivity in Babylon.  Although Ezekiel is carrying physical baggage, the Israelites/Judeans have much idolatrous, spiritual baggage that is causing this judgment upon them.

Usually told to act out his prophecies, Ezekiel is once again asked by God to demonstrate a future truth to the people of Israel.  This time Ezekiel is packing his bags, digging a hole through the wall of Jerusalem, climbing through with his face covered, and exiting the city under the cover of darkness.  We learn that this is how Zedekiah, the present king of Judah, will be taken into captivity.

Next, Ezekiel is to tremble, while eating his food and drinking his water. The fear and despair the people of Jerusalem will experience is palpable.  We are fortunate in this day and age in America that we don't have to worry about being invaded and carted away to a foreign land.  We don't have the threat of enemy forces killing our loved ones and devastating our homes.  The people of Jerusalem were about to face this sort of enemy.

False prophesies were so common in Jerusalem at this time that a proverb about time passing and making every prophet a liar was well known among the people.  God tells Ezekiel to announce to the people a new proverb, "The time has come for every prophecy to be fulfilled." Ezekiel 12:23.  The people had become jaded.  Ezekiel has the task of trying to wake the people up to the truth.  God's judgment is now!

Ezekiel is told to speak against the false prophets. God promises through Ezekiel to stand against these lying prophets and raise his fist to banish them from Israel. He swears to never allow them to see their land again.  Ezekiel is also told to prophesy against the women prophets who have convinced the people to rely on magic veils and magic charms to effect their futures.  Why do people always try to exert control over their circumstances through charms, superstitions, and the like?  God is not pleased with this behavior.  It demonstrates a lack of faith in God and a desire to be god through one's own efforts/works.  This type of superstitious behavior turns people away from God and reliance upon Him. God promises through Ezekiel to rescue the people from these women's grasp.  Their lies have led the people to remain in their sins.  This is wrong.  God will punish them for this.

Some of the leaders of Jerusalem come to visit Ezekiel.  God tells Ezekiel that these men have set up idols in their hearts. Therefore, He does not feel compelled to help them.  God encourages Ezekiel to preach that people should repent of their sins and turn away from their idols.  God intends to punish those who practice these detestable rituals.  False prophets and evil people who want God's advice will be punished!

Do you rely on horoscopes, psychics, prayers to statues/saints, or any other form of idol worship?  God is never pleased with this behavior. It shows a lack of faith.  It is spiritual baggage.

Hebrews 7:1-17

Today, Paul continues to prove that Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood.  There is an explanation about Melchizedek.  He was the king of Salem, which means "peace."  He is also described as a king of righteousness.  The man had no lineage of a father and mother. His life record shows no beginning or end.  He is also known as a king of justice. He is a priest forever like the Son of God.

His greatness is seen in that Abraham, the patriarch through whom God promised to bless the whole world with the Redeemer Child, goes to this man to give a tithe and to receive a blessing.  Paul argues that only one who is greater can extend a blessing to the lesser.  Also, the argument that the Levitical priesthood was in Abraham's loins when Abraham gave Melchizedek his tithe.  This proves that the Levites paid a tithe, symbolically, to Melchizedek.  This also elevates him and his priesthood over the Levitical priesthood.

Finally, Paul argues that if the Levitical priesthood could have fulfilled the role of High Priest eternally, then God would not have needed to send Jesus Christ, who was from the line of Judah. Aaron and all of the High Priests who came after him were men who died. They were of limited power and had a limited role.  Jesus Christ is different.  God's intention was to have Jesus be from the priestly line of Melchizedek.  It is an eternal priesthood enabled with power by Christ's death and resurrection.  It is the resurrection that secures Jesus' place in this eternal priesthood.  This is the kind of High Priest that all of humanity needs. A priest who can live forever and represent mankind to God without ceasing. This is confirmed in Psalm 110 with the statement, "You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek."

What do you think about having a High Priest who can represent you to God, the Father, forever?  Does this concept comfort you?  Jesus is our sacrifice for sins.  He also prays for our us without ceasing. He will do this throughout eternity in perfection. What a thought!

Psalm 105:37-45

This psalm recounts that God remembered his sacred promise to Abraham.  You and I are the beneficiaries of this!

Proverbs 27:3

Resentment caused by a fool is heavier than stone and sand.  Boy, that is true.  Have you ever experienced this?

What did you notice as you read today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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