God Centered Bible – Daily Devotions

November 16: A Temple Vision

November 16, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 40-41, Job 15:1-16, John 11:38-44, 1 John 4:1-6Ezekiel 40-41:Matthew Henry, of famous reputation, says this is “justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions of scripture in all the book of God. The Jews will not allow any to read it till they are thirty years old, and tell those who do read it that, though they cannot understand every thing in it, ‘when Elias comes he will explain it.’” We are then verging on matters that have perplexed the brilliant, and caused plentiful head scratching among the learned.What shall we make of this vision? To begin with, we should be prosaic. The most obvious answer to the question is that Ezekiel is encouraging the exiles with a vision of the temple—a vision that for them would have seemed strange, after so long away from the former temple. It is practical, in that it gives dimension and…

Continue Reading >

November 15: Know that the Lord is God

November 15, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 38-39, Job 14, John 11:17-37, 1 John 3:19-24 Ezekiel 38-39: In Ezekiel 38 and 39, we hear of God’s judgment and opposition upon Gog and Magog, the continued trouble that Israel would face even after it had returned from exile, but God’s final victory over that trouble. We do not know exactly who these opponents of Israel were, perhaps the kings of Syria, as biblical history does not record these later events that are here prophesied. Also, from Revelation 20:8, we know that there is a final further fulfillment related to Gog and Magog that is still yet to come. Throughout these chapters God’s purpose to reveal who he is, his holiness and glory, even in this world of trouble and difficulty, is again and again made clear. “You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring…

Continue Reading >

November 14: God’s Word Renewing God’s People

November 14, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 35-37, Job 13, John 11:1-16, 1 John 3:11-18 Ezekiel 35-37: Chapter 35 begins with a prophecy against Edom (“Mount Seir”) for their sinful opposition to God’s people: “Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword” (35:5). As if to ensure pride does not thereby ensue to Israel, chapter 36 then announces prophecy against the mountains of Israel (36:1). But, nonetheless, there will be a return from exile: “But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown” (36:8-9). This is not because Israel is more holy but because of God’s concern for his own name: “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel,…

Continue Reading >

November 13: Shepherds and Sheep

November 13, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 33-34, Job 12, John 10:22-42, 1 John 3:1-10 Ezekiel 33-34: If any had been tempted to think that God’s message through Ezekiel was mere “doom and gloom,” God makes it clear that the warnings that have been given are intended so that people can repent and live. What is more, he makes it clear that there is a responsibility on the “watchman” to issue these warnings; otherwise, the blood of the people who have not been warned, and thus cannot repent, will be on the head of the mute watchman. A messenger then comes to Ezekiel from Jerusalem saying “the city has been struck down” (33:21). Apparently, the inhabitants remain unreasonably confident in Abraham’s blessing, and the covenant commitment of the land (33:24), even though they are not following God or keeping the terms of the covenant. “You rely on the sword, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles…

Continue Reading >

November 12: The Fear of God

November 12, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 31-32, Job 11, John 10:11-21, 1 John 2:24-29 Ezekiel 31-32: When we read this continuing litany of judgment through Ezekiel from the mouth of God, it is important, critically so, that we do not, if we are Christians, become uncertain of our salvation. We, if we are in Christ, have been rescued. These words then are intended to motivate us to evangelism, proclamation, mission, ministry—but they should not make us doubt our relationship to God, or our standing with Christ in God’s holy presence, perfect and established in a realm of grace and glory. That said, we also need to hear these words of judgment with their full intentionality and resonance. The nations, not just the individuals among them, but whole societies—when outside Christ—are brought low, even to the place of death and judgment. Chapter 31 begins with Pharaoh. “Whom are you like in your greatness?” (31:2). Assyria was…

Continue Reading >

November 11: Know that God is Lord

November 11, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 29-30, Job 10, John 10:1-10, 1 John 2:18-23 Ezekiel 29-30: Two more chapters of Ezekiel declaring God’s judgment—this time against Egypt. A “sword” will come upon them (29:8). Egypt has expressed overweening arrogance: “Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you” (29:9-10). There will be restoration, “I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros” (29:14), but this will not be restoration to its former glory. “It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations” (29:15). The tool that God will use will be Babylon: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his…

Continue Reading >

November 10: The Word About God

November 10, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 27-28, Job 9:21-35, John 9:26-41, 1 John 2:12-17 Ezekiel 27-28: A predominant emphasis throughout the book continues: “The word of the LORD came to me” (27:1, 28:1, 11, 20). Ezekiel speaks God’s word and does not make up his own. Here he is to raise up a “lamentation” against Tyre (27:2)—to speak God’s word against Tyre. Tyre is proud: “You have said, I am perfect in beauty” (27:3). Then for many verses Ezekiel lists all the ways that Tyre thinks that she is special and so great—it goes on and on like listening to someone endlessly boasting about their achievements. Before too long it leaves you somewhat sickened. But, in the end, all this apparent prosperity will turn against her: “The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever” (27:36). Again, in chapter 28, the word of…

Continue Reading >

November 9: A Momentous Day

November 09, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 24-26, Job 9:1-20, John 9:13-25, 1 John 2:1-11 Ezekiel 24-26: A momentous day indeed: the day the king of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem (24:2). Ezekiel is to write down this day, this very day, to record it. And he is to tell a parable concerning what is going on (24:3). The parable—the story laid alongside the truth to illuminate the truth, an illustration—is a “pot boiler.” All the teeming, boiling, stewing fire of a pot boiled illustrates the kind of pressure and suffering that Jerusalem will experience. Most extraordinarily, Ezekiel is told that his wife will die (“the delight of your eyes”), but he is also told not to mourn her passing at all (24:16). And when the people come and ask the meaning of him carrying on as if nothing has happened, he is to tell them that God will profane their sanctuary (“the delight of your…

Continue Reading >

November 8: Knowing (and Forgetting) God

November 08, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 22-23, Job 8, John 9:1-12, 1 John 1 Ezekiel 22-23: Ezekiel is asked whether he will judge Jerusalem—the “bloody city” (22:2)—and then given words to declare to her all her “abominations.” Basically, she has “become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made” (22:4). In addition, “You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths” (22:8). What is more, gross “lewdness” (22:9), sexual immorality, and the like have become common (22:10-11). And to cap it off, their business deals have become murderous and riven with extortion (22:12). But God they have “forgotten” (22:12). Here we may discern a pattern. Leaving God and replacing him with the worship of idols leads to desecration of God’s holy assemblies. This leads to sexual immorality, and in turn spirals down to destroy the economy with lack of trustworthiness and stability. The root of…

Continue Reading >

November 7: Then You Will Know That God Is the LORD

November 07, 2016:

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 20-21, Job 7, John 8:48-59, 2 Peter 3:10-18 Ezekiel 20-21: Irony of ironies, the elders of Israel, or at least a portion of them, come to Ezekiel to “inquire of the LORD” (20:1). This is some kind of formal desire to hear from God through God’s prophet. But, the word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel, “Is it to inquire of me that you come?” (20:3). It is one thing to say that you are going to hear God’s word; it is another to turn up physically to hear from God’s word; it is another thing to actually be prepared to hear what God has to say, come what may. They say they are there to inquire from the LORD, but the facts prove otherwise. God then through Ezekiel recounts to the elders of Israel the long history of Israel’s relationship to God—how he has rescued them time and…

Continue Reading >