24 November 2010

Nov 24

Reference links:
Old Testament

After all this time (three and a half weeks), we finally finish Ezekiel. It had some good parts, but I cannot say I am going to miss it.

The vision of the restored temple ends with a description of a river that runs through. That river runs from the temple to the Dead Sea and gets deeper along its length. The river will restore life to the Dead Sea and it will become a thriving oasis teaming with life.

The Lord then tells Ezekiel of the new borders of the 12 tribes within the land of Israel. These differ from the traditional borders given back in Numbers.

The river and the borders of the 12 tribes make me think that this whole vision is not meant to be read of a temple that is restored in the course of normal history. Most of the 12 tribes were effectively lost after the destruction of Israel and Samaria, and rivers do not just pop out of nowhere. This, along with the vague descriptions of a future prince, make me think this whole vision is not to be taken literally. That said, I am not sure how it should be taken. Perhaps this is an example of mysticism in Ezekiel.

After that the book ends rather abruptly with a description of some city gates. If I did not already know that we were starting Daniel tomorrow, I would have been quite surprised when we started reading it.

New Testament

The author emphasizes that believers are just visitors in this world. As such, they should live proper lives and be honorable in their behavior.

He then goes states that believers should respect all human authority; oh, many are the things that I shall resist mentioning here. The honorable lives of believers should be enough to silence their accusers. Disobedience, it is implied, would only give those accusers fodder.

In kind, slaves are commanded to submit to their masters, even if their masters are cruel. As usual, I find such commands morally despicable. The author attempts to justify this unjustifiable command by quoting what seems to be a hymn about Jesus' suffering.

This is followed by instructions for wives which are annoying, as usual. However, the version in 1 Peter is slightly less annoying than some instances (e.g., the Pastorals), and the emphasis on internal beauty instead of external beauty is fairly nice. The instructions to husbands which follow also do better than most similar pairings.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's proverb claims that everyone enjoys the success of the godly. Nice in theory, but in practice, I think jealously often dampens that enjoyment.

The second proverb says that confessing since will lead to mercy and prosperity.