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bible reading oct 1-3


Bible reading for weekend Oct 1 -- 3

Oct 1 -- Ezekiel 34 and Psalms 83-84

Oct 2 -- Ezekiel 35 and Psalm 85

Oct 3 -- Ezekiel 36 and Psalm 86

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"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)


BAD SHEPHERDS, GOOD SHEPHERD (ch 34). Ever since King David, the first shepherd-turned-king, the leaders of Judah were designated as shepherds, who were called to exercise oversight and care for God's people. They were to feed, guide, care for, and protect the flock of God. Generally, they did this poorly (vv 1-10). Where they failed, God himself would step in (vv 11-31). Over 18 times in this chapter God says, "I will..." or "I myself will...", that is, he will be the shepherd who seeks, gathers, feeds, and protects his people. This he would do in the person of his Son, who is the promised son of David and the true Shepherd-King. The Lord Jesus came to us, both physically and geographically. He came to seek us out, and to save the lost (Lu 15:1-7; 19:10). He looks with compassion upon the harassed and helpless multitudes (Matt 9:36). "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (Jn 10:11). We can fully trust his authority over us. We may think we have a crisis of leadership today in church and nation -- and we do -- but this has been a consistent lesson throughout history -- in Jesus, God will do what man cannot do.  

A MESSAGE TO THE MOUNTAINS (ch 35-36). The Lord speaks to the land. Mount Seir, the land of the Edomites, will suffer judgment for the ongoing Edomite aggression toward Israel. In contrast (ch 36) God will bless the mountains of Israel, and renew the productivity of the land. This is all part of the new covenant that God will make with his people. Ezekiel 36, along with Jeremiah 31, are among the most important chapters in the OT for us to know. (Bookmark those chapters, if you haven't already.) All the chronic failure of Israel leads up to realization that we -- not just Israel, but all believers -- need a more secure covenant with God, which we may call a unilateral covenant, which rests upon the Lord for its permanence and fulfillment. Humans are the weakest link in salvation! But there's one Human, our corporate Head, who has fulfilled and completed this covenant (Heb 9-10). During the Passover meal on the evening before his death, he said to his disciples, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Lu 22:20). Again, what man could not do, God would accomplish in his Son. As John Hannah writes, "...salvation is a work of God; it is not a work of man complemented in some manner by God..." (from Intimacy with God).

A NEW HEART (ch 36). The restoration of the land would go hand in hand with the restoration of the people of God. Christ's salvation is not just for humans, but for creation also (Rom 8:19-22). For the Jews the short-term fulfillment would be their return to Israel after exile in Babylon. Ultimately, however, the new covenant means the renewal of all creation (see the paragraph below, "Revive Us Again"). This great work of redemption is not done for people because they are deserving (quite the contrary, vv 22-23), but because God is vindicating his holy name and making himself known to the nations. The greatest feature of this new covenant will be the change wrought upon the human heart (vv 26-27). Jesus' statement to Nicodemus, "...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5) is likely referring back to vv 25-27, "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." The people whom God redeems -- whether from among the Jews or the Gentiles -- will have a new inclination, a new affection, and a tender heart for the Lord. They will have a new God-given desire to obey him, "...for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).

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"Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever." (Psalm 86:11-12)

PSALMS 83 AND 84. You can read my comments on these two psalms here.

REVIVE US AGAIN (Ps 85). This psalm, attributed to the sons of Korah, has a similar theme with Asaph's psalm, that of restoring God's people (cf Ps 80). Three times the blessing of the land, or dwelling in the land, is mentioned (vv 1, 9, 12). God's inheritance involves the blessing of having God's own presence (the Lord), the blessing of righteous rule (his law), and the blessing of bountiful creation (the land). Graeme Goldsworthy summarizes this theme which runs throughout Scripture as, "God's people, in God's place, under God's rule." For Israel this meant God's blessing in the land that he gave to them. For us this means we look forward to God's re-creation of the heavens and earth (Matt 5:5; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1).

A PRAYER FOR GRACE (Ps 86). This psalm is a prayer of David. Note: not all of David's psalms appear only in the first two books of Psalms. This is a lament, not specifically tagged to some event in his life, but appropriate for the wider community of God's people. (Us too!). The recent psalms we are reading seem more related to the community of God's people, and focus upon the land and city God has chosen. David here is seeking to know God's ways, and trusting him for grace in a difficult situation. Why not make this psalm your own prayer today?

TODAY'S QUOTE. "Are we believing not just bits and pieces of the Word of God, not just the past history of the Word of God, not just the teaching on how to be born again, not just the teaching on how to live day by day, moment by moment, but also what he tells us of the future, too? We need to be thinking, acting, and feeling as if we truly believed all that God has given us. We need to live in the midst of the whole truth, and remember that this is real. What the Bible teaches us gives us a perspective of reality. Living outside of that means living a life that doesn't fit things as they really are!" (Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality)


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About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.  



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