Sacrifices and Protections

 Ezekiel 46:1-18 is our lesson for today.  Last time we how the people and the princes of the land have responsibilities in regards to sacrifices.

I'm actually finding this interesting to learn.  I always thought that the priests handled everything, but God makes it clear here that the prince is take part in the Sabbath offerings, standing at the gate so that the priests can make their offering (burnt and peace).   The prince doesn't need to stay all day BUT the east gate that he stands near is to be kept open all day.

46 “Thus says the Lord God: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. The prince shall enter by the vestibule of the gate from outside, and shall take his stand by the post of the gate. The priests shall offer his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening........

Another interesting fact.  When the people come to the feasts, if they come in at one gate they must leave by the gate opposite.   One straight line from one gate to the next, with the prince accompanying them.
“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead. 10 When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.

Verses 11-15 discuss the sacrifices.    The next verses talk about inheritances.  Any inheritance the prince leaves for his children needs to come out the land that is HIS, not the peoples, not the temples, just his.  If he makes the gift to a servant they only have until the year of liberty to use it and enjoy it, after that, it reverts back to the prince so that any offspring of the prince don't lose any of their inheritance.

16 “Thus says the Lord God: If the prince makes a gift to any of his sons as his inheritance, it shall belong to his sons. It is their property by inheritance. 17 But if he makes a gift out of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty. Then it shall revert to the prince; surely it is his inheritance — it shall belong to his sons. 18 The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property. He shall give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that none of my people shall be scattered from his property.”

I read these verses and I wonder about God's care for his people.
Assuring that the prince remembers the importance of the sacrifices.
I wonder why the people had to walk in the straight line from one gate to the other.  I wonder if God was just keeping things orderly, or if there was a reason behind it. 
I kinda wonder if it's a foreshadowing of how we can't turn back to our old ways after we accept the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.   Once we've "gone through that gate" there is no turning back.   God's call upon our heart is too strong for that.  Nothing can separate us from his love, we're his through and through.  

The last verses have me feeling kinda sad and at the same time more aware of God's protection on our behalf.   Imagine your employer giving you a gift, and you know you can only have it for a short term... nothing long term... because whatever the employer has, has to be kept as an inheritance for his children.   Kind of a bummer to know you have to give it back, but at the same time an incentive to make good use of it and to keep it good shape as you know if will be going back to him!    At the same time it's good to see those protections in place for the future generation, so that you know that the land God gave the prince can't to wastefully given away and thereby affect the long-term needs of future generations.

No squandering to be done here!
Only protections offered.   I just find myself intrigued.
What about you?

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