Ezekiel 46 (CEV)
Various Laws for the Ruler and the People
As Ezekiel sets out the proper way to worship in this temple, I have included quotes about worship by people who have thought deeply about it. I hope you will find your idea of worship enhanced as you read this post today!
The Lord said:
The east gate of the inner courtyard must remain closed during the six working days of each week. But on the Sabbath and on the first day of the month, this gate will be opened. 2 Israel’s ruler will go from the outer courtyard into the entrance room of this gate and stand in the doorway while the priest offers sacrifices to ask my blessing and sacrifices to please me. The ruler will bow with his face to the ground to show that he has worshiped me. Then he will leave, and the gate will remain open until evening.
“In general rejoice in him and make a fool of yourself for him the way lovers have always made fools of themselves for the one they love.” – Frederick Buechner
3 Each Sabbath and on the first day of each month, the people of Israel must also come to the east gate and worship me. 4 On the Sabbath, the ruler will bring six lambs and one ram to be offered as sacrifices to please me. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. 5 With the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain.
In the process of being worshiped… God communicates his presence to men. – C. S. Lewis
6 The ruler is to bring six lambs, a bull, and a ram to be offered as sacrifices at the New Moon Festival. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. 7 With the bull and the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain. 8 The ruler must come through the entrance room of the east gate and leave the same way.
Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God – it whets our appetite. – Eugene Peterson
9 When my people come to worship me during any festival, they must always leave by the opposite gate from which they came: Those who come in the north gate must leave by the south gate, and those who come in the south gate must leave by the north gate. 10 Their ruler will come in at the same time they do and leave at the same time they leave.
For years, the church has emphasized evangelism, teaching, fellowship, missions, and service to society to the neglect of the very source of its power – worship. – Robert E. Webber
11 At all other festivals and celebrations, twenty pounds of grain will be offered with a bull, and twenty pounds will be offered with a ram. The worshipers can offer as much grain as they want with each lamb. Four quarts of olive oil must be offered with every twenty pounds of grain.
12 If the ruler voluntarily offers a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing, the east gate of the inner courtyard will be opened for him. He will offer his sacrifices just as he does on each Sabbath; then he will leave, and the gate will be closed.
Oswald Chambers put it this way: “Worship is giving God the best that he has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to him in a deliberate act of worship.”
13 Each morning a year-old lamb that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice to please me. 14 Along with it, three pounds of fine flour mixed with a quart of olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. This law will never change— 15 the lamb, the flour, and the olive oil will be offered to me every morning for all time.
Laws about the Ruler’s Land
16 The Lord God said:
If the ruler of Israel gives some of his land to one of his children, it will belong to the ruler’s child as part of the family property. 17 But if the ruler gives some of his land to one of his servants, the land will belong to the servant until the Year of Celebration, when it will be returned to the ruler. Only the ruler’s children can keep what is given to them.
God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. – A. W. Tozer
18 The ruler must never abuse my people by taking land from them. Any land he gives his children must already belong to him.
from Psalm 57
My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
The Sacred Kitchens
19 The man who was showing me the temple then took me back to the inner courtyard. We walked to the south side of the courtyard and stopped at the door to the sacred rooms that belonged to the priests. He showed me more rooms at the western edge of the courtyard 20 and said, “These are the kitchens where the priests must boil the meat to be offered as sacrifices to make things right and as sacrifices for sin. They will also bake the grain for sacrifices in these kitchens. That way, these sacred offerings won’t have to be carried through the outer courtyard, where someone could accidentally touch them and be harmed.”
Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped. – Jack Hayford
21 We went back to the outer courtyard and walked past the four corners. 22 At each corner I saw a smaller courtyard, sixty-eight feet long and fifty feet wide. 23 Around the inside of these smaller courtyards was a low wall of stones, and against the wall were places to build fires.24 The man said, “These are the kitchens where the temple workers will boil the meat that worshipers offer as sacrifices.”
Bible commentator William Barclay wrote: “When men worship Jesus Christ, they do not fall at his feet in broken submission, but in wondering love. A man does not say, ‘I cannot resist a might like that.’ He says, ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.’ A man does not say, ‘I am battered into surrender.’ He says, ‘I am lost in wonder, love, and praise.’”
As we read these chapters about plans for a temple, a place to worship the Most High God, I want us to hear some of the hymns that have been sung for many generations in many different countries and denominations. These are some of a Christian’s most precious treasures!
HERE is a modern great hymn, “In Christ Alone.” “In Christ Alone” was written in 2001 by Keith Getty (Northern Ireland) and Stuart Townend (England), both songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music.