Ezekiel 45 & Psalm 99-101

Ezekiel 45

    “When you allot the land as an inheritance, you shall set apart for the LORD a portion of the land as a holy district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits broad. It shall be holy throughout its whole extent. Of this a square plot of 500 by 500 cubits shall be for the sanctuary, with fifty cubits for an open space around it. And from this measured district you shall measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 broad, in which shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. It shall be the holy portion of the land. It shall be for the priests, who minister in the sanctuary and approach the LORD to minister to him, and it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary. Another section, 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits broad, shall be for the Levites who minister at the temple, as their possession for cities to live in.

    “Alongside the portion set apart as the holy district you shall assign for the property of the city an area 5,000 cubits broad and 25,000 cubits long. It shall belong to the whole house of Israel.

    “And to the prince shall belong the land on both sides of the holy district and the property of the city, alongside the holy district and the property of the city, on the west and on the east, corresponding in length to one of the tribal portions, and extending from the western to the eastern boundary of the land. It is to be his property in Israel. And my princes shall no more oppress my people, but they shall let the house of Israel have the land according to their tribes.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord GOD.

    “You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath. The ephah and the bath shall be of the same measure, the bath containing one tenth of a homer, and the ephah one tenth of a homer; the homer shall be the standard measure. The shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels plus twenty-five shekels plus fifteen shekels shall be your mina.

    “This is the offering that you shall make: one sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat, and one sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley, and as the fixed portion of oil, measured in baths, one tenth of a bath from each cor (the cor, like the homer, contains ten baths). And one sheep from every flock of two hundred, from the watering places of Israel for grain offering, burnt offering, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them, declares the Lord GOD. All the people of the land shall be obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a bull from the herd without blemish, and purify the sanctuary. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and the posts of the gate of the inner court. You shall do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance; so you shall make atonement for the temple.

    “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering. And on the seven days of the festival he shall provide as a burnt offering to the LORD seven young bulls and seven rams without blemish, on each of the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering. And he shall provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull, an ephah for each ram, and a hin of oil to each ephah. In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil.

(Ezekiel 45 ESV)

Psalm 99

    The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
        He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
    The LORD is great in Zion;
        he is exalted over all the peoples.
    Let them praise your great and awesome name!
        Holy is he!
    The King in his might loves justice.
        You have established equity;
    you have executed justice
        and righteousness in Jacob.
    Exalt the LORD our God;
        worship at his footstool!
        Holy is he!
    Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
        Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
        They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
    In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
        they kept his testimonies
        and the statute that he gave them.
    O LORD our God, you answered them;
        you were a forgiving God to them,
        but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
    Exalt the LORD our God,
        and worship at his holy mountain;
        for the LORD our God is holy!

(Psalm 99 ESV)

Psalm 100

A Psalm for giving thanks.

    Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
        Serve the LORD with gladness!
        Come into his presence with singing!
    Know that the LORD, he is God!
        It is he who made us, and we are his;
        we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
    Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
        and his courts with praise!
        Give thanks to him; bless his name!
    For the LORD is good;
        his steadfast love endures forever,
        and his faithfulness to all generations.

(Psalm 100 ESV)

Psalm 101

A Psalm of David.

    I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
        to you, O LORD, I will make music.
    I will ponder the way that is blameless.
        Oh when will you come to me?
    I will walk with integrity of heart
        within my house;
    I will not set before my eyes
        anything that is worthless.
    I hate the work of those who fall away;
        it shall not cling to me.
    A perverse heart shall be far from me;
        I will know nothing of evil.
    Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
        I will destroy.
    Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
        I will not endure.
    I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
        that they may dwell with me;
    he who walks in the way that is blameless
        shall minister to me.
    No one who practices deceit
        shall dwell in my house;
    no one who utters lies
        shall continue before my eyes.
    Morning by morning I will destroy
        all the wicked in the land,
    cutting off all the evildoers
        from the city of the LORD.

(Psalm 101 ESV)

 The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...


SOME OF THE PSALMS ARE grouped into collections. Psalms 93—100 celebrate the kingship and coming of the Lord. Thematically, however, they range from the exuberant exhilaration of Psalm 98 (yesterday’s meditation) to a more subdued but profoundly submissive awe. After the unrestrained joy of Psalm 98, there follows in Psalm 99 a profound reverence. We have moved from a festival of praise to a cathedral.

The psalm divides into two parts. The theme of the first is established by the repeated line, “he is holy” (99:3, 5). This does not mean something as narrow as saying that God is good or moral (though it does not exclude such notions). The emphasis is on the sheer “Godness” of God — what makes him different from human beings, what makes him uniquely God. The two instances of the clause “he is holy” are meant to be statements summarizing in each case the preceding lines. (a) The Lord reigns; he is exalted above the mighty cherubim (99:1). Though he manifests himself in Zion, he is no tribal deity: “he is exalted over all the nations” (99:2). “Let them praise your great and awesome name” (99:3) — and then the summarizing refrain, “he is holy.” (b) If he reigns over all, he is, supremely, the King (99:4). He is not only mighty, he loves justice and fairness. This has been eminently displayed in his own covenant community: “in Jacob you have done what is just and right” (99:4). There is only one appropriate response before such a God: “Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool” (99:5) — and again the summarizing refrain, “he is holy.”

The second part of the psalm contemplates the truth that, however exalted and holy he is, God chose to disclose himself to human beings. We may be tempted to think of Moses and Aaron and Samuel as almost superhuman. But the psalmist carefully places them among the priests and among those who called on his name: they were not fundamentally different from others. Moreover, they were frail and flawed like the rest of us. According to verse 8, God was to them (not “to Israel”: the NIV footnote is correct) “a forgiving God,” even though he “punished their misdeeds” (here follow the NIV text, not the footnote).

Thus the theme of God’s holiness does not end in mere transcendence, but in an unimaginably great God graciously disclosing himself to human beings — even when they rebel against him. We stand in their company. If his holiness is disclosed both in mercy and in wrath, then we are neither to despair of it nor to presume upon it. “Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy” (99:9).