Ezekiel resources

JP: Image is Raphael’s The Vision of Ezekiel (1518).

Helpful articles on the Book of Ezekiel:

How do atheists observe Thanksgiving?

JP: Thoughtful article by Albert Mohler.

“They Did Not Honor Him as God, or Give Thanks”

Excerpts:

A haunting question is this: How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand that an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.

Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone? It makes no sense to express thankfulness to a purely naturalistic system.

….

So, observe a wonderful Thanksgiving — but realize that a proper Christian Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act that requires an active mind as well as a thankful heart. We need to think deeply, widely, carefully, and faithfully about the countless reasons for our thankfulness to God.

It is humbling to see that Paul so explicitly links a lack of thankfulness to sin, foolishness, and idolatry. A lack of proper thankfulness to God is a clear sign of a basic godlessness. Millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with little consciousness of this truth. Their impulse to express gratitude is a sign of their spiritual need that can be met only in Christ.

So have a very Happy Thanksgiving — and remember that giving thanks is one of the most explicitly theological acts any human can contemplate. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting [1 Chronicles 16:34]. Give thanks.

Ezekiel Outlines

JP: Various outlines of Ezekiel.

Charles Lee Feinburg (The Prophecy of Ezekiel)

  1. Prophesies of Jerusalem’s destruction (Chapters 1-24)
  2. Prophesies against the nations (Chapters 25-32)
  3. Prophesies of Israel’s blessings (Chapters 33-39)
  4. The Millennial Temple and Sacrifices (Chapters 40-48)

ESV Study Bible – introductory article

  1. Inaugural Vision (1:1–3:27)
  2. Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah (4:1–24:27)
  3. Oracles against Foreign Nations (25:1–32:32)
  4. After the Fall of Jerusalem (33:1–39:29)
  5. Vision of Restoration (40:1–48:35)

Shepherd’s Notes

  1. The Prophet’s Call  (1:1–3:27)
  2. Prophecies against Jerusalem and Judah (4:1–24:27)
  3. Judgments against the Nations (25:1–32:32)
  4. Prophecies of Israel’s Restoration and Blessing (33:1–39:29)
  5. Prophecies of Worship in the Millennial Kingdom (40:1–48:35)

Regular Baptist  Press

  1. God Reveals Himself   (chapters 1-3)
    1. In His Word
    2. By His Word
  2. God judges sin (chapters 4-33)
    1. The sin of Judah (4-24)
    2. The sin of the nations (25-33)
  3. God restores His people (chapters 34-48)
    1. Because of His covenant
    2. For true worship

Happy Thanksgiving

JP: An antique Thanksgiving card from my Sister in Law’s collection. Click for full size image.

The wrong way to pray for our President

The correct way:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

What’s wrong with the bumper sticker? Read below

Change the Bumper Sticker

Excerpts:

I contend that Psalm 109:8 is an illegitimate request to pray for our President.

First, notice that David wrote this psalm as the king of Israel himself. It is directed against the enemies of his throne and his people. This is a prayer for rulers, especially Christian rulers, to make against rogue nations, not for private citizens to pray against their own ruler. (For more on this point, read James Montgomery Boice in his Expositional Commentary Series.)

Second, remember that David personally refused to hurt the king ruling over him, even when Saul mistreated him and threatened his life (I Sam. 24:6-7). David disagreed with aspects of Saul’s agenda, but his conviction that political rulers are established by God did not change.

I am convicted that I do not pray for my President more than I do. But it is irresponsible to apply Psalm 109:8 to this solemn obligation. I am thankful for my President, whether I agree with his policies or not. I suggest that this bumper sticker change the scripture reference to I Timothy 2:1-3.

The Puritans gave America a pedagogy of work

JP: Interesting read from the Wall Street Journal.

Idle Hands: Some Puritan Advice for the Unemployed

Excerpt:

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, encouragement may come from an unexpected source: the Puritans.

Often misunderstood and perennially maligned, the Puritans—tested first by religious persecution and later by the elements in their primitive surroundings—grew not into the fuddy-duddy party-poopers of modern history books, but into a tenacious and stalwart people. They developed by sheer necessity one of the most highly defined and well-honed work ethics in history. If anyone knew a trick or two about surviving hard times, they did.

Defined primarily by their religious separation from the Church of England, the Puritans (not surprisingly) had a view of work in which God looms large. Living according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which states that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” the Puritans believed that all of life, including their work, was God’s, and, as such, infused with purpose and meaning. They saw hardship not as a sign of failure, but as a path to growth and maturity, a mind-set that kept them from the kind of work-related despair seen in today’s news.

Reformer and forefather of much Puritan theology, Martin Luther, in his doctrine of vocation, taught that God gave each individual an occupational “calling.” Man’s vocation was not seen as impersonal and random, but as from a loving and personal God who bestowed each individual with natural talents and desires for a particular occupation. This thought further deepened the Puritan’s sense of purposefulness, fortifying him in difficult times.

Much like modern work is separated into white and blue collar, 17th-century tradition held that sacred occupations (like priest or monk) trumped secular ones (like farming or blacksmithing). The Puritans, however, rejected such a distinction. Holding to “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10), the Puritans sanctified the common, believing that all work, however lowly, if done for the glory of God, was good. Christ Himself “was not ashamed to labor; yea, and to use so simple an occupation,” said Puritan Hugh Latimer. The farmer’s plow became his altar, his tilling an act of service to God every bit as holy and valuable as the priest’s, reminding the unemployed that temporarily taking a step down in pay or status does not equate to failure.

Long before the days of therapists and career coaches, the Puritans learned how to cope with depression. They scorned idleness, believing it was indeed the devil’s workshop, bogging down the body in inertia, and leading to brooding. Luther had promoted the opposite, a life of diligence, saying “God . . . does not want me to sit at home, to loaf, to commit matters to God, and to wait till a fried chicken flies into my mouth.” Long before endorphins were discovered, the Puritans knew that moving and tiring the body in manual labor (even if that labor is the unpaid kind that paints the house and organizes the garage) proved a talisman against a host of mental ills.

Contrary to the misconstrued Victorian concept of ‘Puritanism,’ an idea C.S. Lewis calls “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” the original Puritans, serious as they were, embraced not only hard work, but the pursuit of joy. Lewis, opposed to this inaccurate view of the Puritans, would agree with writer, Richard Bernard, who said Christians “may be merry at their work, and merry at their meat.” Thomas Gataker wrote that Satan was the one who would try to convince people that “in the kingdom of God there is nothing but sighing and groaning and fasting and prayer,” but the truth was that “in his house there is . . . feasting and rejoicing.” Lewis, further debunking the myth that Puritans never had fun, said “bishops, not beer, were their special aversion.” The Puritans pursued joy, the very antithesis of depression, even in the midst of hardship, believing they were firmly in God’s hand, not forgotten and never forsaken.

More than just an annual turkey fest, the Puritans gave America a pedagogy of work and an attitude toward life that upsets the modern notion that a person’s occupation equals his value. A man’s worth, the Puritans might advise the unemployed Steve Lee, lay in his service to God and to his fellow man, not in titles or financial portfolios. Rather than seeing life as a series of random events, the Puritan’s belief in Providence imputed a profound sense of a loving God’s purpose for him, a purpose that left very little room for despair.

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

JP: Thought many would find this interesting:

The Background, Poetry and Scripture of “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

More on the author of this hymn