Bible reading for Oct 4 -- 5
Oct 4 -- Ezekiel 37 and Psalms 87-88
Oct 5 -- Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 89
"I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Ezekiel 37:26-27)
DRY BONES RESURRECTED (ch 37). Ezekiel is prophesying the future restoration of the nation -- uniting both Israel and Judah together -- in conjunction with God's new covenantal work (ch 36). On one sense (spiritually) this is being fulfilled in the church age as the gospel goes forth bringing life to Jew and Gentile (Rom 3:29-30; 9:24; 11:1-5). But the church does not replace Israel in God's plan. This chapter looks forward to the future work of God in restoring Israel (Rom 11:25-32; Zech 12:9-14). "David" ruling as king (vv 24-25) is likely referring to his greater son, Jesus, the Son of David (Ps 2; Isa 9). One thing to note from this chapter is the way God creates and re-creates -- by Word and Spirit. In Genesis God spoke words and the Spirit hovered over the waters to bring forth the world (Gen 1:2-3). Here Israel is resurrected by Ezekiel's spoken word and the work of the Spirit (or, "breath", "wind"). As the gospel of Jesus goes forth around the world people are brought to life by hearing the Word of God and receiving life from his Spirit (1 Cor 2:4; Eph 1:13; 1 Thess 1:5). So, this chapter is a beautiful picture of the new birth of all of God's people.
GOG AND MAGOG (ch 38). Sometime in Israel's future, when they are in the land and at rest from enemies, there will be an invasion from a northern alliance of military powers. Read Constable's notes on the possible identity of Gog. The Apostle John places this event at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:8). And the Lord says, "So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD" (v 23). Human history from beginning to end has as its goal the demonstration that God is God (and there is no other) and that he shall have the final word. History is His story, which reveals his own greatness, holiness, and glory.
"Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God." (Psalm 87:3)
THE GLORIOUS CITY (Ps 87). The city of God is the place where God chooses to manifest his glorious presence to his people. There's an earthly Jerusalem, for which God still has a plan, and there is a heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22; Rev 21:10) which will come down from heaven from God. Through Christ by faith we are "enrolled" there (vv 5-6; Heb 12:23). The holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, is our home town! This community, gathered around Christ as Lord, is a source which inspires songs and celebration, today as then (v 7). Here's one...
"Glorious things of thee are spoken, / Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken / formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded, / what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded, / thou may'st smile at all thy foes."
--John Newton (1725-1807)
IN REGIONS DARK AND DEEP (Ps 88). Many of God's people have felt this way at some point: "O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?" (v 14). Read more here.
SONG OF THE COVENANT (Ps 89). The covenant in view here is the covenant that God made with King David, promising him (and the nation) perpetuity of David's dynasty and one day, the arrival of a world ruler, the Son of David, the Anointed One. But for Ethan the Ezrahite that seemed a long way off. Read more here.
TODAY'S QUOTE. "Science cannot explain this contradiction in man. It reckons only with his greatness and not with his misery, or only with his misery and not with his greatness. It exalts him too high, or it depresses him too far, for science does not know of his Divine origin, nor of his profound fall. But the Scriptures know of both, and they shed their light over man and over mankind; and the contradictions are reconciled, the mists are cleared, and the hidden things are revealed. Man is an enigma whose solution can be found only in God." (Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, pp 22-23) More of this quote here.
Photo: sunrise at the pond at Hethwood, Blacksburg, VA. 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.