A Heart of Flesh Instead of Stone

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #3:

Ezekiel, chapters 9-12
Job 3
– John 8:1-11
2 Peter 2:1-9

More New Covenant promises: “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Exk 11:19-20). “A new spirit” = heart of flesh instead of stone. And note the word “that” which begins verse 20, signifying the purpose for the “new spirit” and “heart of flesh.”

“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (Job 3:23). I think this is Job’s way of asking why suffering exists, or why bad things happen to good people. This is a question we all must face and eventually answer.

“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11). This seems like somewhat of a fulfillment of Jesus’ words only a few chapters earlier in John 3:17.

“Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2Pet 2:3). This is an interesting concept, that the punishment of evildoers is both ordained/decreed in the past (at least I think that’s what this is saying) and is still working itself out in the present.

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #4:

Ezekiel, chapters 13-15
Job 4
– John 8:12-20
2 Peter 2:10-16

The Bible is about God… it is a revelation from the Creator to us, the creation, about who the Creator is and what he is like. And as far as I’m concerned, my “Sunday school” image of what God is like does not always align with how the Bible actually depicts him. I know I hit home on this theme often, but I do so because it so often resonates in my spirit as I read. Today’s example is Ezekiel chapter 14, verse 9: “And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, theLord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.” That’s the Lord taking credit for deceiving his own prophet. The purpose of this deception and the resulting destruction follows in verse 11.

I’m going to come right out and say this at the beginning of these many chapters of Job’s dialogue with his friends: It’s difficult for me to detect the incorrect or problematic statements Job’s friends make. I know Job’s friends are wrong in their counsel because I’ve rea the end of the book, but in the moment it’s hard for me to pick out what exactly is wrong. They speak many true statements, and the incorrect statements are buried somewhere underneath. I feel like I’m overly skeptical while I’m reading. For example: “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” (vs 6). The first half of this sentence seems right to me, but perhaps the second half isn’t very accurate? Honestly though, I feel like I’m just trying to find something wrong with it because I know it’s supposed to be wrong.

Trinitarian logic: “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (Jn 8:19). Separate, yet unified.

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction” (2Pet 2:10-12). I’m not sure what the “blaspheming” here refers to, but I know what “ignorant” means… and I know that there are many things about which I am ignorant. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to speak against, well, ANYONE… so as to avoid being guilty of this same blasphemy.

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