Lectionary for March 24, 2019
Third Sunday in Lent, Series C, ESV
Ezekiel 33:7-20, Why Will You Die, Israel?
The book of Ezekiel divides itself into 3 major sections: judgement on Israel, judgement on foreign nations and restoration. Chapter 33 begins the section on restoration. In the first nine verses of chapter 33, the instructions Ezekiel receives are, in effect, a recommissioning to the prophetic office. Such a basic orientation was necessary because the message of redemption was radically different from the threat of God's wrath, delivered to the rebellious house in chapters 1 - 24.
In verse 7, God never addresses Ezekiel by name but by son of man, 93 times throughout the book of Ezekiel. The expression accents the prophet's weakness as a creature in contrast to the Creator's omnipotence displayed in Ezekiel's initial vision. Ezekiel 1:22-2:4 watchman … warning , a military metaphor; often applied to prophets. Isaiah 21:6-12; Habakkuk 2:1-3 In the New Testament, it is applied to all Christians, especially in final judgement contexts. Matthew 16:6; Hebrews 13:17
his blood I will require at your hand , verse 8, both he and the wicked will die.
As a preacher of restoration, Ezekiel has to cope with negative responses such as despair. When his fellow prisoners came face-to-face with the consequences of sin, they stoically resigned themselves, in verse 10, torot away. Ezekiel 4:13-17 How then can we live, the exiled Israelites ask? Verses 11-20 provide God's answer.
Ezekiel 18:5-9 expands on verse 15.
In verse 17, the people say that the Lord's ways are not fair, but arbitrary or unpredictable. It is the other way around - God acts consistently according to His rules of justice, while people are fickle and reject God's revelation.
Today, God calls us to not only repent of our sins and receive the forgiveness He offers through Christ, but also to warn others and to announce the Lord's forgiveness for all who repent. Thankfully, the Lord is watching over us and will sustain us in this vital service.
Psalm 85, Revive Us Again
Possibly written soon after the return of the exiles from Babylon (verse 1-3), this psalm expresses the psalmist's feelings of distress and exposure to danger. Nehemiah 4:15-23
restored the fortunes of Jacob , verse 1, what does that restoration look like? Psalm 14:7
Restore us again , verse 4, may indicate that the first restoration was the return from Babylonian exile and the second, the hard labor of rebuilding Israel after the return.
Who will speak peace to his people, verse 8? Zechariah 9:9-10 Who are the saints in verse 8? Psalm 50:5 What are the consequences for those who turn back to folly.? Psalm 49:5-13; 2 Peter 2:20-22
In verses 10 - 13, through His steadfast love, God gives us faith and makes us righteous so we may live in peace. Even the earth rejoices in God's goodness.
make His footsteps a way , verse 13, personification of righteousness. Here God's righteousness creates a pathway for His saints to follow. Psalm 89:14; Proverbs 14:34; Isaiah 58:6-8
1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Warning Against Idolatry
The first 5 verses provide a recap of the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt and journey to the Promised Land.
Exodus 32:1-6 is where, it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play" , verse 7. Just as the Israelites were guilty of participating in worship of false gods and eating with them, so some Corinthians were doing the same. 1 Corinthians 8
Verse 8 refers to the events in Numbers 25:1-9, verse 9 to Numbers 21:5-6 and verse 10 to Numbers 14:26-37.
What is meant in verse 11 by, on whom the end of the ages has come? Romans 13:11 Though Israel could only hope for the coming of Christ, the Corinthians had the advantage of living in the last days when God fulfilled His promise of forgiveness and salvation in Christ.
Luke 13:1-9, Repent or Perish
In regard to verse 2, many thought tragedies happened to people as divine punishments for specific sins. John 9:1-3; Acts 28:1-6
the tower in Siloam fell , verse 4, an incident for which there is no other historical record.
fig tree , in verse 6, this particular unproductive tree symbolizes Jews who were not producing the fruit of faith. vineyard is symbolic of Israel, God's chosen people. Isaiah 5:1-7
The owner symbolizes God in verse 7; the vinedresser a religious leader. three years, shows extreme patience as the owner waits for fruit. Cut it down. Luke 3:7-14; Matthew 7:15-20
St. Augustine said of verse 8, "The basket of dung, understand in its good effects. It is filthy, but it produces fruit. The gardener's filth is the sinner's sorrows. They who repent, repent in filthy robes; if, that is, they understand aright, and repent in truth".