It’s Everlasting 

Ezekiel 16:6
“Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

Ezekiel has gone to great lengths to explain the judgment Judah is under, because they had forsaken God and followed after their own desires. He compared them to the city of Sodom that had received divine judgment for their sinful behaviors. He even went a step further, explaining they were worse than Sodom, because their sin was committed despite the fact that they had been chosen by God, and given His word as their guide. In the midst of declaring the penalty for their sins, Ezekiel brings up the mercy of God by reminding them of His everlasting covenant. That covenant was made with their father Abraham, before they were ever born, and is even stronger than the sins they have committed.

Man is a very weak being. We are dependent on outside forces to keep us alive. We can live only minutes without air, days without water, and weeks without food. Nothing seems to point to our weakness more than how quickly and consistently we give in to the sinful desires of our flesh. Jesus told the apostles that while their spirit was willing to do the right things, their flesh was weak (Mark 14:38). We find this to be true on a daily basis. It is comforting to know that the covenant God has established with us is stronger than the weakness of our flesh. When we fail He remains faithful.

Paul put it like this,

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful! He cannot deny Himself.”

If you are currently misbehaving, the right thing to do is to stop, turn to Christ, and allow Him to forgive you and restore you into relationship with Him. If you are currently struggling with an area of weakness, keep in mind that when you fail, He doesn’t. The covenant you have with God is based on the work Christ has done, not the work that you do.

Take a few moments to express gratitude to God for His faithfulness, and the forgiveness that is available to you because of the cross.

Pastor Jim

 

Main Thing 

Hebrews 8:1
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, . . .”

Under the Levitical priesthood, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies bringing atonement to the Lord on behalf of the people. His job was basically to represent the people to the Lord, and the Lord to the people. If memory serves me, I believe the Latin word for high priest means “bridge builder.” The role of the priest was to make a way for man to be right with God. Hebrews 8 reminds us, Christ is our High Priest and having made a way for us to be right with God, He is in heaven representing us to the Father.

As the High priest’s garments were stained red with the blood of the sacrifice, so Christ bears the scars of the cross, as a reminder of the atonement provided at Calvary. When we sin and the devil brings charges against us, our High Priest bridges the gap, perhaps by showing His scarred hands and feet, declaring that the price has been paid, and forgiveness is given.

When we are facing trials, obstacles or temptations, and it looks as though we may fail under the pressure of the test, our High Priest stands in the gap and prays for us. Like Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses, Jesus holds up our hands that hang down and strengthens our feeble knees. It is His constant prayer and encouragement that enables us to press through the trials and onward with the Lord.

With eyes of love, our High Priests watches our every move. Not because He is hoping we will fail and He might rebuke, correct, and chasten us, but because He loves us as a father loves his son. There is never a moment when we are beyond His gaze. In one of the most magnificent promises in the Bible, we are told He sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17). Imagine the throne room of God, where the songs of the saints accompany the angelic choruses giving praise to Jehovah God. Then a voice rises high above all others and begins to sing a love song, and you are the subject of His song.

It is no wonder the writer of Hebrews declares that this is a better covenant.

Pastor Jim

 

The Temple 

1 Kings 6:11-13
“Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: ‘Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.’”

Four hundred and eighty years after entering the promised land the Tabernacle was replaced with the Temple. The Temple was an elaborate structure, sitting above the city of David, on what had been the threshing floor of Ornan. This forty five foot tall building was the prize of Israel, and could be seen from miles away. The inside of the Temple was even more glorious than its exterior. The floor, walls, and ceiling, were made of intricately carved cedar and overlaid in gold. The rooms were decorated with tapestries and furnishings designed by God, and built by he finest craftsmen of the time. It is no wonder the whole nation gathered to celebrate when the Temple was finally completed.

As magnificent as his building must have been, it was important that Solomon remember its real purpose. Sometime in the midst of the building project, he heard the voice of God reminding him that the building is just a building if the people don’t walk with the Lord.

“. . . walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments..”

By way of application, the same is true of us today. Church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian service, are only activities if we wander from the Lord. At the heart of Christianity is the need to simply read the Bible and do what it says. The driving force behind that should be a desire to please God by doing what He says.

As time went on, the Temple continued to stand as a landmark for the nation, long after the king and people had wandered from God. They would eventually come to a time where the Word of God was completely forgotten, while the priests still diligently practiced their rituals.

Religious exercise has its place, but should never replace getting alone with God and His Word and simply doing what it says.

Pastor Jim