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Ezekiel 40:1-19, The Vision of the New Temple

Thursday, December 14

Tangible Promises

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Israel has been conquered and exiled, and their city destroyed because of their rebellious nature. But, true to form, God cannot leave them. In a vision, God shows Ezekiel a new temple -- a promise that their exile will not last forever. The interesting thing about this vision is how very specific it is. God could have simply said, "You will have a new temple." Instead, God shows Ezekiel exactly what the temple will be made of and its measurements. This is no abstract promise -- it is measurable and tangible.

Sometimes God's promises can seem abstract and fuzzy. It's because we're often looking at God's promises through a future lens, which blinds us because we cannot see into the future. But some of God's promises exist now, where we can see clearly God's hand in it. Consider the things you may have -- family, a home, a job, pets, food, health, technology, money in the bank, fresh water whenever you want it. Consider more specific things you might have -- a cell phone with information about anything at your fingertips, a Christmas tree with ornaments from years past that remind you of how loved you are, winter boots that give you the opportunity to do the things you need to do all winter (worship, visit, shop). Sometimes God's gifts are abstract. But sometimes they are quite specific. Measurable. Tangible. Worthy of gratitude. What promises or gifts are you most grateful for today?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ezekiel 40:1-19

In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me there. He brought me, in visions of God, to the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. When he brought me there, a man was there, whose appearance shone like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. The man said to me, “Mortal, look closely and listen attentively, and set your mind upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you; declare all that you see to the house of Israel.”

Now there was a wall all around the outside of the temple area. The length of the measuring reed in the man’s hand was six long cubits, each being a cubit and a handbreadth in length; so he measured the thickness of the wall, one reed; and the height, one reed. Then he went into the gateway facing east, going up its steps, and measured the threshold of the gate, one reed deep. There were recesses, and each recess was one reed wide and one reed deep; and the space between the recesses, five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the vestibule of the gate at the inner end was one reed deep. Then he measured the inner vestibule of the gateway, one cubit. Then he measured the vestibule of the gateway, eight cubits; and its pilasters, two cubits; and the vestibule of the gate was at the inner end. There were three recesses on either side of the east gate; the three were of the same size; and the pilasters on either side were of the same size. Then he measured the width of the opening of the gateway, ten cubits; and the width of the gateway, thirteen cubits. There was a barrier before the recesses, one cubit on either side; and the recesses were six cubits on either side. Then he measured the gate from the back of the one recess to the back of the other, a width of twenty-five cubits, from wall to wall. He measured also the vestibule, twenty cubits; and the gate next to the pilaster on every side of the court. From the front of the gate at the entrance to the end of the inner vestibule of the gate was fifty cubits. The recesses and their pilasters had windows, with shutters on the inside of the gateway all around, and the vestibules also had windows on the inside all around; and on the pilasters were palm trees. Then he brought me into the outer court; there were chambers there, and a pavement, all around the court; thirty chambers fronted on the pavement. The pavement ran along the side of the gates, corresponding to the length of the gates; this was the lower pavement. Then he measured the distance from the inner front of the lower gate to the outer front of the inner court, one hundred cubits.