(24 verses, 4:37 to read)
What I am about to READ
- As Ezekiel’s vision of the temple continues, the Lord further details the role of the prince with regards to the worship life of Israel and gives instruction about where sacrifices are to be boiled.
- vv. 1-15 are regulations about the prince and worship in the temple on Sabbaths and festivals.
- vv. 16-18 are regulations about gifts and inheritances that the prince might give either to his sons or to his servants.
- vv. 19-24 are regulations about where certain offerings are to be boiled.
- As part of the restoration of the temple, Ezekiel’s vision includes the prince we’ve been reading about these last few chapters. This chapter indicates that the prince’s worship should come before that of the people. This might be a codification of what has already taken place in Israel’s history. As the leaders in Jerusalem go, so go the people, religiously speaking. In times when a faithful king ruled in Jerusalem, the worship life of Israel was in accord with the Lord’s Word. In times when an idolatrous king ruled in Jerusalem, the temple fell into disrepair and disuse.
- The regulations cited here are often difficult for modern Christians to wrap their minds around, since we do not have such an elaborate sacrificial system to attend to. This is because Jesus is our once and for all sacrifice that fulfilled the ceremonial laws God had put into place for His people of old (cf. Hebrews 9 and 10). We also see from the instructions regarding the movement in and out of the people of God’s desire for order in worship. This prevents any sort of confusion during the Old Testament Divine Service, that the people would be freed to receive the gifts God offered to them through Word and Sacraments. Likewise, liturgical worship takes a very orderly form that there be less focus on the “how” of worship to the “what” of worship (cf. I Corinthians 14:26-40).
- The Lord makes specific rules about gifts the prince may give to his children or servants. This reflects the statutes God gave to Israel regarding the inheritance given to the people of Israel as they came into the Promised Land (cf. Leviticus 25). This was to ensure that the inheritance God gave to His people would remain an inheritance from His hand, and that the poor would not be taken advantage of. This is one of the reasons God condemned Ahab, King of Israel, when he unjustly took Naboth’s vineyard (I Kings 21).
- Prayer: O Lord, You seek those who worship You in Spirit and Truth. Grant that our worship would consist of those things which You have commanded, namely that we would receive the forgiveness of sins through the absolution and the Sacraments as commanded by Your Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive our boredom with these gifts and open our eyes to the richness of Your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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