Ezekiel 43 & Psalm 95-96

Ezekiel 43

    Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

    While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their whoring and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

    “As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.

    “These are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth): its base shall be one cubit high and one cubit broad, with a rim of one span around its edge. And this shall be the height of the altar: from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns. The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve broad. The ledge also shall be square, fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad, with a rim around it half a cubit broad, and its base one cubit all around. The steps of the altar shall face east.”

    And he said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for throwing blood against it, you shall give to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, declares the Lord GOD, a bull from the herd for a sin offering. And you shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the ledge and upon the rim all around. Thus you shall purify the altar and make atonement for it. You shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and it shall be burned in the appointed place belonging to the temple, outside the sacred area. And on the second day you shall offer a male goat without blemish for a sin offering; and the altar shall be purified, as it was purified with the bull. When you have finished purifying it, you shall offer a bull from the herd without blemish and a ram from the flock without blemish. You shall present them before the LORD, and the priests shall sprinkle salt on them and offer them up as a burnt offering to the LORD. For seven days you shall provide daily a male goat for a sin offering; also, a bull from the herd and a ram from the flock, without blemish, shall be provided. Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it, and so consecrate it. And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer on the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, and I will accept you, declares the Lord GOD.”

(Ezekiel 43 ESV)


Psalm 95

    Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
        let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
    Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
        let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
    For the LORD is a great God,
        and a great King above all gods.
    In his hand are the depths of the earth;
        the heights of the mountains are his also.
    The sea is his, for he made it,
        and his hands formed the dry land.
    
    
    Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
        let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
    For he is our God,
        and we are the people of his pasture,
        and the sheep of his hand.
    Today, if you hear his voice,
        do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
        as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
    when your fathers put me to the test
        and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
    For forty years I loathed that generation
        and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
        and they have not known my ways.”
    Therefore I swore in my wrath,
        “They shall not enter my rest.”

(Psalm 95 ESV)


Psalm 96

    Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
        sing to the LORD, all the earth!
    Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
        tell of his salvation from day to day.
    Declare his glory among the nations,
        his marvelous works among all the peoples!
    For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
        he is to be feared above all gods.
    For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
        but the LORD made the heavens.
    Splendor and majesty are before him;
        strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
    
    
    Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
        ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
    Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
        bring an offering, and come into his courts!
    Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
        tremble before him, all the earth!
    
    
    Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
        Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
        he will judge the peoples with equity.”
    
    
    Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
        let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
        let the field exult, and everything in it!
    Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
        before the LORD, for he comes,
        for he comes to judge the earth.
    He will judge the world in righteousness,
        and the peoples in his faithfulness.

(Psalm 96 ESV)

The People of His Pasture

 

Psalm 95 leads those who sing it into learning a valuable lesson from the history of God's people.  On account of the glory and greatness of our God, we are to hear His voice and heed His instruction lest we harden our hearts like Israel in the wilderness. Although they had "seen His work", they continually acted in unbelief which led them to experience God's wrath rather than His promised rest.

If we rightly call God our King, our Maker and our Lord then we must trust Him as "the rock of our salvation" and rightly seek to obey His every word. "We are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand." May we resist wandering away into the wilderness of God's wrath and trust in our Good Shepherd to lead us securely into the green pastures and still waters of God's eternal rest.