Week 20

8 - 14 October
Psalms 93 - 99, Ezekiel 21 - 35, 1 & 2 Peter, Proverbs 22

8 October
Ezek 21 - 221 Peter 1
9 October
Ezek 23 - 241 Peter 2
10 October
Ezek 25 - 26 1 Peter 3
11 October
Ezek 27 - 281 Peter 4 - 5
12 October
Ezek 29 - 312 Peter 1
13 October
Ps 98Ezek 32 - 332 Peter 2
14 October
Ezek 34 - 352 Peter 3


Psalm 93 praises God and proclaims his reign, holding creation and God's kingdom together.  God orders his creation, maintaining its stability through his lordship.
Psalm 94 reminds us that judgement and vengeance belong to God, not to us.  The psalmist appeals to God to judge the wicked, lamenting their arrogance and wrong doing, and rebuking the foolish.  It is a useful reminder to us that it is God who is ultimately responsible for justice.
Psalm 95 starts with a hymn of praise.  It then warns the people not to repeat the sin of the wilderness generation (Exodus 17.1-7, Numbers 20.1-13), where the people tested God, making demands on him.  In the wilderness, Jesus overcame the temptation to rely on demonstrations of God's power, instead relying on God's word (Matthew 4.1-11).
Psalm 96 proclaims God's reign to the nations in a joyful song of praise.
Psalm 97 continues the theme, showing how God's power is shown throughout creation.  God's reign is a reign of righteousness.
Psalm 98 was the basis for Isaac Watts' hymn 'Joy to the world', often sung at Christmas.  The psalm is a hymn praising God for his salvation.  Early Christians chanted this psalm as a way of expressing their joy at the salvation brought to them in Jesus.
Psalm 99 is also a hymn of praise for God as king over all, who loves justice and righteousness, and is holy: "Hallowed [holy] be thy name."

Ezekiel 21 - 35

The Historical Background to the Old Testament prophets.

The seemingly inevitable slide into the abyss continues for Judah.  God is acting through Nebuchadnezzar in judgement on the king, Zedekiah, and the people.  The city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants are corrupt, and judgement is overdue.
Chapter 24 is a major turning point.  It is January 588 BC, and the siege of Jerusalem has begun.  This is what Ezekiel's prophetic actions and words have pointed to.  At this time, his wife died also, but he was not to mourn.  The prophet himself became a sign for the people.  When the city and temple fall, there will be no rites of mourning will be adequate in the face of total disaster.  The city fell in January 585 BC, and the temple destroyed some four or five months later.
Chapters 25 - 32 concern God's judgement on the nations.  On the one hand, the nations are seen as the agents of God's judgement on Israel; on the other, they too have failed to heed God's word.
Chapter 33 tells of the fall of Jerusalem, and marks the end of the first part of Ezekiel's prophetic ministry.
The following chapters begin to look forward to the future, and to the possibility of restoration.

1 Peter

This is an early Christian letter, written by a 'fellow elder' (5.1).  It locates the author and those with him in 'Babylon' which was often used by first and second century Christians as a pseudonym for Rome.  The Silvanus and Mark referred to in the letter may well be Paul's associates (see for instance Acts 15), suggesting that the author and those with him were Christian missionaries who worked with Paul and Peter in Rome.  It may have been written down from the dictation of the apostle Peter, although it is more likely that his name was used to give it apostolic authority.
It is likely that it was a general letter directed to Christians living in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), who were in danger of losing their faith in the face of harassment and hostility.  They are reminded that they cannot just go back to where they were before becoming Christians.  Christ, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, did not respond to insults, but trusted in God.  His suffering and subsequent exaltation and glory are the pattern and hope for Christians.  

2 Peter

This book is not related to 1 Peter in language, style or content.  The author clearly knew some of Paul's letters, Jude and some of our gospels.  We do not know when it was written, or to whom, although it is probably late first century or even early second century.
The purpose of writing is to correct misinterpretations of Paul's letters, and to safeguard the faith.  Although it is written as if by the apostle Peter, it actually looks back to the time of the apostles, warning against false apostles who distort the genuine apostles' teaching.  These false apostles deny Jesus' return, perhaps as a consequence of the deaths of the apostolic generation without it happening.  Jesus will return, bringing about a judgement resulting in the destruction of this world, when the righteous will be taken into glory with God.

Proverbs 22

The first half of this chapter is a collection of unrelated sayings about reputation, wisdom, the power of money and God's providence.  The second part introduces a new collection of wisdom sayings.

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