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bible reading sept 15-16



Bible reading for September 15 -- 16

Sep 15 -- Ezekiel 18 and Psalms 62-63

Sep 16 -- Ezekiel 19 and Psalms 64-65

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"For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live." (Ezekiel 18:32)


THE SOUL WHO SINS (ch 18). It seems there was a popular belief that since the Lord spoke of generational sins and judgment (Ex 20:5; 34:7), then the punishment the Jews were then experiencing at the hands of Babylon was due -- unfairly, in their minds -- to past generations of Jews. Jeremiah also refers to this belief (Jer 31:29-30). But the Lord asserts, "The soul who sins shall die" (vv 4, 20). That current generation of Jews, by persisting in idolatry and injustice, had reaffirmed (rather than repudiated) the actions of their forebears. If a descendant sees the sins of his or her forebears and repents, then that generational guilt is broken (v 14; cf Ezek 33:14-16). The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day thought they wouldn't have done what their forefathers did, but they continued like them in a spirit of rebellion against the Lord, and so, they "filled up the measure" of their fathers (Matt 23:29-38). Faith with repentance breaks the connection with sinful associations. So, say a person was born into a dysfunctional family that had experienced loss due to generational sin -- perhaps, due to violence, drunkenness, gambling, or abandonment -- the children would certainly experience the effects of their parents' sinful choices. But to break the generational sin, a choice must be made by the descendants -- do they continue in such sin (perpetuating it) or do they make a break and live by God's values?  

CORPORATE OR INDIVIDUAL? This truth of individual responsibility does not remove the truth of corporate solidarity, also taught in the Bible, whereby our union to a family or people or ruler can bring judgment or righteousness. Rahab's family, for example, was saved from destruction through Rahab's faith (Josh 6:17). Joshua's army suffered loss due to Achan's sin (Josh 7). And we have all sinned in Adam's sin, thus sharing his guilt (Rom 5:12-14). However, we have now received righteousness and life through our union with Christ by faith (Rom 5:12-14; 1 Cor 15:21-22; Eph 1:3-4). Keep in mind, too, that in Ezekiel we are reading in the context of the Mosaic covenant. The New covenant brings a greater grace, security, and blessing for the believer (Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; Ezek 36:25-27). There's a mystery in how this all works together, but we might say it this way: our individual choices ratify (or confirm, or reveal) our corporate relationship, either to Adam or to Christ. Faith unites us to Christ and to his righteousness.

LAMENT FOR LEADERS (ch 19). The leaders have been called out for their sins, but here is a lament for their loss. Israel the nation had been as a lioness (v 2) and like a fruitful vine (v 10), but now she must suffer humiliation. This chapter demonstrates that, though God in his righteousness must bring judgment (which in itself was good and needed), he does not delight in the suffering and loss of his creation. Jesus said, "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!" (Luke 12:49). Yet, later, as he approached Jerusalem, he wept over it (Lu 19:41). He said, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" (Matt 23:37) Again, there's a mystery here -- like individual responsibility and corporate solidarity -- God's just decrees and his compassion toward suffering. "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live" (18:32). We must hold all of these truths together, even if we do not perfectly understand them!  

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"On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God." (Psalm 62:7)

GOD ALONE (Ps 62). Our salvation and hope rest on God alone (vv 1, 2, 5, 6). David acknowledges his weakness and vulnerability (vv 3-4), and so his trust is in the Lord (v 8). He recognizes the vanity of human pride and evil (vv 9-10). God alone is all powerful and perfectly loving (vv 11-12), and he shall judge righteously. Money, power, and technology are so often bent toward evil ends, but man shall not prevail: "For you will render to a man according to his work." We can rest assured in God's perfect judgment.

BETTER THAN LIFE (Ps 63). The Lord's steadfast love -- also translated, "lovingkindness" or "unfailing love" -- is better than life itself (v 3)! As you read this psalm, observe the many verbs used: "seek, thirst, faint, look, ..." (vv 1-8). Make a list of these, and ask yourself, 1) which of these words characterizes your relationship with the Lord right now?  And 2) Which of these traits do you need to ask God to grow within you?  And finally, 3) What is the destiny of those who oppose Christ and embrace falsehood (vv 9-11)?

PSALMS 64-65. Read about "the war of words", and David's thanksgiving, in these two psalms. (Btw, if you are hearing these passages on audio via my website, you will notice that the passages are being read by Kristyn Getty with her beautiful Irish voice!)

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Image credit: photo by v2osk on Unsplash. 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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