Ezekiel 48 & Psalm 104

Ezekiel 48

    “These are the names of the tribes: Beginning at the northern extreme, beside the way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, as far as Hazar-enan (which is on the northern border of Damascus over against Hamath), and extending from the east side to the west, Dan, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Dan, from the east side to the west, Asher, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Asher, from the east side to the west, Naphtali, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Naphtali, from the east side to the west, Manasseh, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Manasseh, from the east side to the west, Ephraim, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Ephraim, from the east side to the west, Reuben, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Reuben, from the east side to the west, Judah, one portion.

    “Adjoining the territory of Judah, from the east side to the west, shall be the portion which you shall set apart, 25,000 cubits in breadth, and in length equal to one of the tribal portions, from the east side to the west, with the sanctuary in the midst of it. The portion that you shall set apart for the LORD shall be 25,000 cubits in length, and 20,000 in breadth. These shall be the allotments of the holy portion: the priests shall have an allotment measuring 25,000 cubits on the northern side, 10,000 cubits in breadth on the western side, 10,000 in breadth on the eastern side, and 25,000 in length on the southern side, with the sanctuary of the LORD in the midst of it. This shall be for the consecrated priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept my charge, who did not go astray when the people of Israel went astray, as the Levites did. And it shall belong to them as a special portion from the holy portion of the land, a most holy place, adjoining the territory of the Levites. And alongside the territory of the priests, the Levites shall have an allotment 25,000 cubits in length and 10,000 in breadth. The whole length shall be 25,000 cubits and the breadth 20,000. They shall not sell or exchange any of it. They shall not alienate this choice portion of the land, for it is holy to the LORD.

    “The remainder, 5,000 cubits in breadth and 25,000 in length, shall be for common use for the city, for dwellings and for open country. In the midst of it shall be the city, and these shall be its measurements: the north side 4,500 cubits, the south side 4,500, the east side 4,500, and the west side 4,500. And the city shall have open land: on the north 250 cubits, on the south 250, on the east 250, and on the west 250. The remainder of the length alongside the holy portion shall be 10,000 cubits to the east, and 10,000 to the west, and it shall be alongside the holy portion. Its produce shall be food for the workers of the city. And the workers of the city, from all the tribes of Israel, shall till it. The whole portion that you shall set apart shall be 25,000 cubits square, that is, the holy portion together with the property of the city.

    “What remains on both sides of the holy portion and of the property of the city shall belong to the prince. Extending from the 25,000 cubits of the holy portion to the east border, and westward from the 25,000 cubits to the west border, parallel to the tribal portions, it shall belong to the prince. The holy portion with the sanctuary of the temple shall be in its midst. It shall be separate from the property of the Levites and the property of the city, which are in the midst of that which belongs to the prince. The portion of the prince shall lie between the territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin.

    “As for the rest of the tribes: from the east side to the west, Benjamin, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Benjamin, from the east side to the west, Simeon, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Simeon, from the east side to the west, Issachar, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Issachar, from the east side to the west, Zebulun, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Zebulun, from the east side to the west, Gad, one portion. And adjoining the territory of Gad to the south, the boundary shall run from Tamar to the waters of Meribah-kadesh, from there along the Brook of Egypt to the Great Sea. This is the land that you shall allot as an inheritance among the tribes of Israel, and these are their portions, declares the Lord GOD.

    “These shall be the exits of the city: On the north side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, three gates, the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah, and the gate of Levi, the gates of the city being named after the tribes of Israel. On the east side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates, the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin, and the gate of Dan. On the south side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, three gates, the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar, and the gate of Zebulun. On the west side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates, the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher, and the gate of Naphtali. The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.”

(Ezekiel 48 ESV)


Psalm 104

    Bless the LORD, O my soul!
        O LORD my God, you are very great!
    You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
        covering yourself with light as with a garment,
        stretching out the heavens like a tent.
    He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
    he makes the clouds his chariot;
        he rides on the wings of the wind;
    he makes his messengers winds,
        his ministers a flaming fire.
    
    
    He set the earth on its foundations,
        so that it should never be moved.
    You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
        the waters stood above the mountains.
    At your rebuke they fled;
        at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
    The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
        to the place that you appointed for them.
    You set a boundary that they may not pass,
        so that they might not again cover the earth.
    
    
    You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
        they flow between the hills;
    they give drink to every beast of the field;
        the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
    Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
        they sing among the branches.
    From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
        the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
    
    
    You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
        and plants for man to cultivate,
    that he may bring forth food from the earth
        and wine to gladden the heart of man,
    oil to make his face shine
        and bread to strengthen man's heart.
    
    
    The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly,
        the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
    In them the birds build their nests;
        the stork has her home in the fir trees.
    The high mountains are for the wild goats;
        the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
    
    
    He made the moon to mark the seasons;
        the sun knows its time for setting.
    You make darkness, and it is night,
        when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
    The young lions roar for their prey,
        seeking their food from God.
    When the sun rises, they steal away
        and lie down in their dens.
    Man goes out to his work
        and to his labor until the evening.
    
    
    O LORD, how manifold are your works!
        In wisdom have you made them all;
        the earth is full of your creatures.
    Here is the sea, great and wide,
        which teems with creatures innumerable,
        living things both small and great.
    There go the ships,
        and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
    
    
    These all look to you,
        to give them their food in due season.
    When you give it to them, they gather it up;
        when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
    When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
        when you take away their breath, they die
        and return to their dust.
    When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
        and you renew the face of the ground.
    
    
    May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
        may the LORD rejoice in his works,
    who looks on the earth and it trembles,
        who touches the mountains and they smoke!
    I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
        I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
    May my meditation be pleasing to him,
        for I rejoice in the LORD.
    Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
        and let the wicked be no more!
    Bless the LORD, O my soul!
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 104 ESV)

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

 

“O LORD MY GOD, YOU ARE VERY GREAT; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.” So we read in the opening verse of Psalm 104. In this psalm the evidence of the Lord’s greatness is bound up with the created order. Some reflections:

(1) In the opening verses (104:1-4) the string of metaphorical touches is revealing. God wraps himself in light; he stretches out the heavens like a tent; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes winds his messengers. Pantheism merges god with the universe; robust Christian theism not only makes God separate from the universe as Creator is to creation, but in these metaphors suggests that God delights in what he has made. The mood is not only exalted, but almost playful. If pantheism is ruled out, equally there is no scope for deism. The created order is alive with God’s presence as he delights in what his hands have made.

(2) In this psalm there is a strong emphasis on the way all of life depends on the sustaining providence of the Almighty. God makes springs pour water down ravines, and in consequence the beasts of the field drink, trees grow, birds of the air nest in the branches (104:10-12). God is the One who makes grass grow for the cattle, and makes other plants for human consumption (104:14). The lions roar and seek their food from God (104:21). As for the sea, with its teeming millions of life forms, “These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time” (104:27). The sheer abundance and diversity of life forms testifies to God’s imagination, power, wisdom, and incalculable wealth. Life itself is sustained by God’s sanction. If he takes away their breath, they die (104:29-30). The assumption is not the animism of the pagan world. There is an orderliness to the whole (note the rhythm of light and dark, 104:19-24) that makes science possible. But God never withdraws from active, providential rule over every single element of the universe’s operation, with the result that it is not only appropriate but essential to confess that all of life is daily dependent on God for its quotidian supply of food.

(3) All the created order elicits delighted and faithful praise from the unnamed psalmist (104:33). There is just a hint that we ought to be thinking about God in these terms; we want our meditation to be pleasing to him (104:34). And before the closing lines of praise, there is a quiet reminder that despite the glory and beauty of the created order, sin has made this more of a war zone than a museum or a choir (104:35).