Joy!

Today’s readings: Ezekiel 14:12-16:41, Hebrews 7:18-28, Psalm 106:1-12, Proverbs 27:4-6

Today the Psalmist speaks of the joy that comes from following God’s ways.

Praise the Lord!
   Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
    Who can ever praise him enough?
There is joy for those who deal justly with others
    and always do what is right.

Verse 1 emphasizes that the Lord is good. Verse 3 then tells us that joy follows when we behave according to God’s principles – justice and obedience to His laws. It sounds pretty simple, yet Ezekiel documents (chapters 14-16) the disobedience and unfaithfulness of Israel. They were unable (or unwilling) to follow God because they thought that all of His gifts were theirs to use in any way they saw fit.

15 “But you thought your fame and beauty were your own. So you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along. Your beauty was theirs for the asking. 16 You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen? 17 You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against me! 18 You used the beautifully embroidered clothes I gave you to dress your idols. Then you used my special oil and my incense to worship them. 19 Imagine it! You set before them as a sacrifice the choice flour, olive oil, and honey I had given you, says the Sovereign Lord.

There is a lesson here – if I leave God out of the picture and go through life as if everything belongs to me, I am going to end up in a very destructive place, far from God, far from truth, far from hope. The contrast with Psalm 106 is stark and, frankly, terrifying.

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