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November 19, 2023, Day 322

Psalm 128; James 2; Ezekiel 33:21-33; Ezekiel 34; Ezekiel 35

Psalm 128 is a short Psalm of “blessing for the man who fears the LORD” (verse 4), and it indicates exactly what God wants to do for us - He wants to bless us. Four times in this Psalm, the writer refers to the word “bless” in various forms (verses 1-5). Blessings and prosperity (also repeated twice) are the results of “obedience” to God (verse 1). God’s blessings on the man who fears Him extend broadly to the man’s whole existence - his food, his wife, his house, his children, his table, the length of his life, his grandchildren, and ultimately, to his nation. Imagine what our world would be like if men everywhere would simply obey God!

In James 2, we see God’s position about discriminating against others - especially the poor – but actually to everyone. Showing favoritism of any kind is a violation of God’s royal law. We are to love (i.e., treat; care for; be concerned about, etc.,) others in the same way that we love ourselves - in our thoughts, words, and actions (verse 12). Our faith, to be genuine, must produce the fruit of good works - faith is the cause - good works, which never cause faith, are the effect. Properly, in this way, faith and works function together.

In Ezekiel 33-35, we see that the Israelites listened to Ezekiel, but they did not apply his teachings to their lives (33:31-32). Like the New Testament Jews who claimed before our Lord and thought that their relationship to Abraham gave them a special spiritual status before God (cf., John 8:33-47), these Israelites were completely mistaken. They were even guilty of the same things James addressed in our chapter today - idolatry, adultery, shedding blood, and, above all, pride (33:25-26). But God pointed out that He would deal with their sins by making “their land desolate” (32:29). In chapter 34, God reveals that He will be the Shepherd of Israel (verses 11-12). He will “place David over them,” and He will rule. This is a messianic prophecy - a promise - which also relates to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and His coming, future kingdom of peace. In Ezekiel 35, we again see God’s prophetic promise to deal with Edom and Mt. Seir – specifically because of the Edomites’ historically despicable behavior against Israel - their brother. We must remember daily that God is observing our actions, and He remembers His oaths.

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