23 November 2010

Nov 23

Reference links:
Old Testament

Fascinating. Apparently in Ezekiel's version of the law, the gifts given by the people go to the princes, not to the priests (or in addition to the priests?). The prince, in turn, in required to provide the sacrifices for particular observances. This seems like a dramatic change from the administrative structure laid out in Mosaic law.

Ezekiel provides an update of the ceremonies that are to be observed and the prince's role in those ceremonies. All of this is, not surprisingly, about as unexciting as it was when we read similar instructions in the Mosaic law.

Ezekiel also specifies that the land owned by the prince must be given back to him in Jubilee years. I wonder if that is meant to clarify that the prince's land is also subject to these laws or if it is meant to imply that now, in the restored Israel Ezekiel describes, the returning of land only applies to the prince's land. In any case, the prince can only give away his own land and cannot steal the land of others.

We end today's reading with a brief tour of the temple kitchens.

New Testament

Today's reading is a grab bag.

Warnings to the believers not to slip back into their old ways.  People will be judged or rewarded according to what they do; this could probably be made to tie in with the discussion of faith and works in James. Jesus was the ransom God paid to save believers; still no attempt at explaining why this was necessary. More statements implying the author lives in the last days.

Love each other. Get rid of evil behavior. Believers should crave spiritual milk; this reminds me of Paul's claim that the recipients of his letter were ready for nothing more than milk. Believers are the stones that make up God's living temple and Jesus is the cornerstone. Believers should show others the goodness of God.

Psalms and Proverbs

James, in his criticism of the rich, would have liked this proverb:
Rich people may think they are wise,
but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.