God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11 - Ezekiel 44-45: God Separates the Holy from the Common

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 44-45

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God would only accept worship from people circumcised both physically and in the heart.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

We came to a gate. "God went through this gate. It must remain locked. The Prince may only sit and eat with God."
God's Glory filled the Temple. "Pay attention to My instructions for the Sanctuary. Israel broke my trust by bringing people uncircumcised in heart or body in to My Sanctuary.
"Only the family of Zadok can offer sacrifices to Me. They were the only family that did not abandon Me.
"The priests are to model the difference between unclean and clean. Tell the princes to stop taking advantage of My People. Honesty must reign.
"Observe the festivals."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Israel broke trust with God by bringing people who were not dedicated to Him setting all things right in to the Temple.

God makes it plain to Ezekiel that His Sanctuary is not for just anyone to come inside. His sanctuary is only for those who are willing to set things right. Physical circumcision does not necessarily mean a person wants to set things right but all of God's Chosen People must be circumcised. If they are not, they lose the tangible sign of the covenant and can forget who they are—as did the Israelites. Therefore, God reiterates that His Policy is only circumcised people—in heart and body—can be in His Presence.
What does this mean for Christians today? We do not have a "Sanctuary" as the Temple (we will read that in the coming months), but we do have people closely associated with churches (groups of Chosen People dedicated to God setting all things right). I would suggest that we should encourage people who lead worship to be "circumcised" in heart and body before coming. The body part is not as big of an issue anymore. Being "circumcised in heart" is what churches struggle with today.

God wants a clean break between "holy" and "non-holy".

God wanted only certain priests whose family never worshiped other gods to offer sacrifices. The priests were to wear separate clothes when they were doing "holy" acts. Alcohol was prohibited in "holy" areas and at "holy" times. They could only marry "unspoiled" women. All of these were meant to show Israel the difference "between the holy and the common, to show them how to discern between unclean and clean" (44:23, The Message). God wishes to be separated from "common" things. It was a sign that God's Chosen People should be different than the nations around by being wholly for Him.
What does this mean for us today? We should keep separate things that are dedicated to God and things that are not. We should not mix alcohol and worship. We should try to keep times to worship God separate from all other things we do. However, this does not mean we should separate church from life. When we do that, we are susceptible to dualism and making the church seem unnecessary.

Are you circumcised in heart and body?

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