Ezekiel 43-44

“The priests…will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days.” 44:23-24

The priests are given tall orders and a hefty job description; this calling is no joke. Resolving arguments among people based on God’s expectations? That requires knowing God’s expectations and exercising a lot of wisdom. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. Teaching people the difference between what is holy and what is unholy? Clean and unclean? This is serious work. That’s why God calls them to be sober, level-headed people, wearing light clothing so they don’t break a sweat. (Seems like a weird rule, but these people were regularly working around altar fires. Not only were they more comfortable in lighter clothing, but a sweaty, dirty face doesn’t exactly resemble cleanliness.)

We hold a similar calling. Although the dividing curtain in the Temple is torn and we all have equal access to God’s presence (Matthew 27:51), followers of Jesus are still part of a priesthood.

“…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Did you catch the part where Levitical priests have to change out of their clothes before entering the outer courtyard (44:19)? Because the holiness of God, lingering on their clothing like the smell of a magnificent campfire, might endanger the outsiders? I get goosebumps realizing how much I downplay God’s holiness. We too, have a hefty job description and tall orders to follow. We are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. 

Are you equipping yourself to point God’s people toward him? To help sort through conflicts and handle them well? Are you obeying the Sabbath?

Or rather, are you trusting God and stepping back, remembering who you serve and admiring his holiness? Skipping the Sabbath isn’t doing anyone any favors. No one’s impressed with how busy you are or how many plates you’re spinning. Running on empty is disrespectful to God’s design of an abundant life. Resting in his presence is showing others his goodness! 

I’m humbled by my limited understanding of God’s holiness. And thankful for his son, Jesus, who intercedes so that we can have full access to such a holy God!





Ezekiel 41-42

I’ve got to be honest, this temple confuses me. I know it’s about symbolism, but I’m not sure what all the symbols mean. I don’t know why some stories get wider as they get taller (41:7). I’m not sure what to do with these dimensions and when I do a google image search, it makes even less sense.

Most plans come together like this. They can only been seen through hindsight. One day we will all say, “Oh! This is Ezekiel’s temple!” Until then, we know the LORD and His perfect track record of design.

Right now, my life feels like a collection of beautiful pieces to a puzzle I’m about to put together upside down. Maybe the edges are taking shape, but the middle is still piles and the picture is faced away from me. The LORD reveals connections and bit by bit, two pieces lock together, but there’s still a long way to go.

Ezekiel is writing down the dimensions of this temple, most likely thinking it will be built in his lifetime or his children’s lifetime. After all, that’s how the tabernacle was built when Moses got the plans. But no, this physical temple has yet to be built, 2,500+ years later.

The question is always about trust. Faith. Do I have faith in God’s plans? Do I have faith in His timeline? Do I have the faith to do it His way?

Open our eyes, LORD, to see what you are unveiling in perfect time. Open our hearts to trust and obey.

Thank you for always creating a space for us to worship You. It is the key to our health and sanity.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (John‬ ‭4:21-24‬)


Ezekiel 39-40

I really leaned in to the Bible Project’s explanation of these chapters. They described Gog as an “archetype of human rebellion”; which made chapter 39 come together a lot more clearly for me.

It’s tempting to skim over chapter 40, which I have to admit I did at first. But seemingly boring parts of Scripture are often where God has sneaked in beautiful details; things he planned out and anticipated before we even existed. It’s an exercise of discipline to stay engaged with parts of the text that don’t immediately interest you.

I noticed a few interesting things about the new temple (I read this as a symbol for the messianic kingdom to come, others read this as a literal plan for a building):

The aesthetics are painfully detailed. I love the mention of the palm tree decorations on the columns. Palm trees pop up quite a few times in the Bible. They are referenced in Leviticus during the instructions of the Festival of Booths:

“On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days.” Leviticus 23:40

Later, people imitated this ritual when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, throwing down palm branches as he rode in on a donkey. (Matthew 21:8-9, John 12:12-13) So, what’s up with the palm tree thing? I don’t know, but it definitely interests me and gives me something to research in the future. Researching leads to a deeper understanding of the text, which leads to a deeper understanding of God, which is time well-spent! The details are valuable.

I also noticed the mention of maintenance in the new temple.  And the man said to me, ‘The room beside the north inner gate is for the priests who supervise the Temple maintenance.’ ” 40:45

Having a purpose and work to do has been part of the plan since day one. Adam was breaking a sweat in the Garden of Eden tending to his responsibilities, why do I often assume it’ll be any different for me, here on earth? Working hard for the Lord is good and holy. It’s kingdom-like. 

What are the responsibilities God has given you?

How do you approach them?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:24





Ezekiel 37-38

“And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.” (37:13‬)

The LORD brings to life, to that which was dead.

Israel was in a hopeless state. But God, Creator God, is not intimidated by death, for He is the breather of life. He knows no hopeless state.

He can take dry bones, things long dead, and bring them to life. Every enemy or evil empire in the world could coordinate an attack and still lose.

It’s so easy to be near-sighted and anxious with our provincial point of view, but He is telling His people, “something far worse than your imagined ‘worst case scenario’ could happen and I’d still be able to handle it with ease.” In fact, He will conquer death and all enemies. He will raise to life all who have died. He will establish His people and place Christ on the throne of the earth.

“I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (37:26-27‬)

His promises are sure.

Bring to the LORD your impossible situations today. Pray! Write it down! See how He answers you. You will know Him by His ability to fulfill all that He says, and by remembering how many times He’s already done that.


Ezekiel 35-36

“Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations.” 36:22

Smack dab in the middle of these beautiful chapters of Israel’s redemption is a crucial reminder: they do not deserve to be redeemed. God is revealing his holiness to the other nations by gathering up Israel and bringing them back to their land.

Pause and think about your own rescue story. Are you deserving of God’s mercy in your life? I don’t say that to make you feel ashamed. But to feel freed! It’s so easy to slip into performing for God. Earning our place with him. But he tells us plainly that no, we don’t earn a thing. We never could! It’d be hopeless.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2:4-5

Do you find yourself spiritually performing? I catch myself doing this when I read my Bible because I think it puts me in a better position with him, not because I’m drawn to spend time with him.

Do you feel unloveable? You are deeply and unconditionally loved, and there is nothing you can do about it.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

What motivates you to be in relationship with God?



Ezekiel 33-34

Here’s the second part the the Bible Project overview as a refresher. This means–hooray!–we’re in the HOPE chapters!

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.” (34:11‬)

I love it when He takes matters into His own hands. It’s beautiful how He invites us to be a part of things, but without His power, we’re as helpful as a toddler with a playskool hammer.

He, Himself, becomes the shepherd. He transplants hearts of stone for hearts of flesh. He is the creator who breathed life into dust to form us. He, who begins good works, is faithful to complete them.

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and He shall feed them: He shall feed them and be their shepherd.” (34:23‬)

Jesus is the embodiment of God with us. The Creator among creation. He is also the embodiment of mankind walking in their full potential. He showed us how to live, how to care for people, how to submit to the will of God.

Let’s look to Him, today, for the power to love and serve those in our sphere of influence. Let’s observe His example; humbling ourselves to be like Him.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians‬ ‭2:5-7‬)


Ezekiel 31-32

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it.” 31:10-11

God is getting ready to humble Egypt, and deservingly so! They’ve linked themselves to pagan nations, worshiped other gods and allowed their pride to swell.

A successful nation is a common false security we reach for. As an American, I do this often. I place my safety in incapable hands and lean into untrustworthy arms. A successful country can’t save us. The Old Testament is filled with kingdoms that rise and eventually fall. Kings who are corrupt. And, like we read today, it seems that if a nation is doing well by political standards, they are slipping further and further away from their identity in the Lord.

If you don’t live in a thriving country; you know this well. God’s goodness is not hinged on where you live. Your surroundings aren’t a scale of his love for you and you have more opportunities to depend on him.

Today’s chapters remind me that I need to pray for my country. There’s a lot of dialogue in Christian culture right now about what is best for America and the world. I want to speak less and pray more. I don’t know what’s best, but I’m thankful God does. Honestly? My prayer is that he wouldn’t give up on us. That we would remember we need him. That the church would reflect Christ even when America isn’t. I can’t control our world leaders; but I can be a leader in my faith.

Step away from the social media rants. Disengage in the disagreements; they will always be there. If you want to be heard, talk to God.

Where do you put your identity? 

How can you be making a change?