Ezekiel 20:1-49; Hebrews 9:11-28;
Psalm 107:1-43; Proverbs 27:11
The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name.
As the history of Israel's sins is recounted by Ezekiel to the leaders of Judah in exile in Babylon, God explains that the many times that He rescued Israel from the consequences of her own sins was so that His name would be honored on earth. Perhaps this surprises you. These passages show us God's personality. He is interested in His actions reflecting His essence. He is true to Himself. He is honorable.
Once again, we see that God promises to judge the sins of Israel. The sins of idolatry, and particularly the atrocious behavior of sacrificing their young children to pagan gods, has created a situation where God has no choice but to punish this nation. But because He must honor His promises and honor His own name, God intends to bring the surviving Israelites back to the land from the countries where He has scattered them. One day, as it states in verse 40-44, the people of Israel will come back and worship Him. He will accept them. Not only that, He will reinstate sacrifices and offerings and this time the Israelites will do them in obedience. This will honor God in front of all of the nations. The people of Israel will look back upon all of their sins as a nation with regret and God will act mercifully towards them. The world will know that He is God when this occurs.
Do you see God's purpose throughout history? He is laying forth His story. God's good name will be declared in His story, but it is a process. It is a winding, messy process. That is the way God wants His story to unfold.
Has your life been winding and messy? God shows Himself strong in these situations. How has God been strong in your messy life?
Paul summarizes all that he has been trying to teach in this part of the letter to the Hebrews. Jesus Christ has become our High Priest. He has entered the heavenly Most Holy Place (sanctuary) that is not made by human hands. It is not part of this created world. He entered it with blood because a death is necessary to secure an inheritance, but it was not the blood of goats and calves. It was His own blood that secured a salvation for us that lasts forever.
Christ's blood cleanses us from sins that would have kept us apart from our Creator. It is through the power of God's Spirit that Christ was able to sacrifice himself for us. That is why he is the mediator of the new covenant between God and the peoples of the earth.
Christ had to die in order for us to receive the eternal inheritance of life everlasting in God's presence. Someone must die before a will is enacted. If there is not a dead person, the will is not read. Therefore, Christ had to die first. Blood shed is the proof of death in the first covenant. An animal had to die in the place of a person for the sin. It may seem strange to us, but the articles in the Tabernacle were sprinkled with blood to purify them. It was blood that satisfied the problem of sin because shed blood = death.
The Tabernacle was an earthly copy of a heavenly reality. The Jewish Christians, who were new in their faith, needed to embrace this truth. Christ enters into heaven, not the earthly Tabernacle, and enters into the presence of God. It is through his work on the cross that he has removed the power of sin forever. The Redeemer Child promised to Eve in the Garden of Eden has come and accomplished his purpose.
Just as all people will die once and then experience the judgment of God, Christ died once to take away the power of sin on the earth. He will come again for those who love him, not in judgment, but in salvation.
How does this make you feel? Here is the hope of our salvation!
"They will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord." This is what we've been talking about today!
A parent always longs for their child to turn out wise.
What did you learn today?