“Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the LORD of a lamb of the first year without blemish: thou shalt prepare it every morning.” — Ezekiel 46:13
As a child brought up in a Christian home, family devotions were part of our daily routine. My dad was busy with his job and in the Lord’s work, and my mom kept our household running smoothly and worked part-time at the church headquarters office. However, my parents were not too busy to make sure my siblings and I heard the Bible read each morning. We also prayed beside the couch in our living room before heading out for school or other activities. Thus, early in life I learned the value of spending daily time with God.
A mother in our church congregation who did not grow up in a Christian home tells how God revealed to her one day the importance of having regular family worship — not just for her own growth as a Christian, but also for her young children. She started that practice right after getting saved. She relates, “Before bed that night, we discussed how the day had gone for each of us. Then we prayed, thanking God for the day’s blessings, asking help for the things troubling us, and requesting salvation for our loved ones. The next morning, we prayed again, praising God for His goodness and asking help for the difficulties ahead. Later, I wrote in my diary, ‘January 31, 1988: Instituted a time of family worship.’
“Over time, the benefits of having a prayer routine became evident. Reviewing our day with the Lord in the evening helped minimize the children’s anxieties and frustrations, allowed me to become aware of what was going on in their lives, and made us all more appreciative of the good things God provided for us on a daily basis. Meanwhile, praying in the morning prepared us for the spiritual battles of the day. I had thought only adults needed prayer, but I learned that the Lord is a help for even those of a very young age, and it is never too early to establish the practice of praying regularly.”
In our text today, Ezekiel continued to detail various aspects of worship that will take place in restored Israel. His description of the feasts, festivals, and worship ordinances that will occur highlight the fact that God desires order and continuity in His people’s approach to Him. The daily offerings referenced in our key verse illustrate that even in restored Israel, it will be important to continually remember and memorialize Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross. These established times for worship will maintain God’s close connection with His people.
Consistent times of worship provide the same benefit for us. Though our devotions on each day may not seem particularly impactful, when we take time with God on a regular basis, the cumulative effect will cause us to mature in our walks with Him. The more we connect with Him, the more we will understand and appreciate what He is saying about Himself, His Kingdom, and His people.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was the ultimate expression of God’s love for us, and God deserves and desires our devotion. Let’s purpose to honor Him by meeting with Him daily.
After establishing regulations for worship on holy days in the first part of chapter 46, today’s text continues with a series of miscellaneous regulations. Verses 8-10 concern the prescribed manner for entering and leaving of the Temple, and verses 11-15 deal with requirements for various offerings. Verses 16-18 concern the prince’s gifts of land to his sons. In verses 19-24, a description of Ezekiel’s tour of the Temple complex resumes, and Ezekiel was taken to the area where the priests prepare the offerings for consumption.
The prince referenced in Ezekiel’s vision was God’s appointed leader, but he was not a priest; his leadership was evidence of a family-oriented system of worship that existed long before the Aaronic priesthood (see Numbers 7). During the patriarchal period it was not unusual for non-priests to perform priestly functions.
Verses 8-10 indicate there was an established flow of traffic for the people of the land as they came to worship at the Temple. This regulation would preserve orderly movement to and from the Temple, especially on feast days when the crowds would be immense. The prince’s movements were with deliberation (as in verse 8), and on occasions when others under his leadership were presenting offerings, they entered with him and left with him. The prince, however, was not allowed in the separate place near the Temple itself, which was reserved for priests.
Verses 11-15 give regulations concerning various offerings. Traditionally, the peace offering represented in part a sense of well-being between the worshipper and God. To illustrate this fellowship, portions of the offering were shared between the worshipper, the priest, and God (with the fat being burned on the altar). These offerings have similarities to the offerings in Leviticus and Numbers, but have been increased in quantity for the new Temple. The symbolism is much debated by scholars.
Verses 16-18 establish that the prince was allowed to give gifts of land to his sons, but even the prince was required to abide by laws that would keep his land within the family unit. Land gifts to those outside the family would once again become royal holdings in the Year of Jubilee, in accordance with the provisions established in Leviticus 25.
The final section of chapter 46, verses 19-24, describes the priests’ offering portions being cooked in areas of the inner court, while offering portions to be consumed by the people were prepared in unroofed areas in each of the four corners of the outer court. This separation was in keeping with God’s insistence upon separation between the clean and the unclean.
IV. The consolation of Israel
B. Prophecies of the millennial kingdom
1. The restoration of the Temple
d. The renewal of worship in the Temple
(4) The regulations for offerings and feasts
(d) The order of entrance and exit of the Temple (46:8-10)
(e) The offerings of the prince and people (46:11-12)
(f) The offering for the daily burnt offering (46:13-15)
(g) The law concerning inheritance (46:16-18)
(h) The kitchens for the preparation of the sacrifices (46:19-24)
Consistency of worship will be a part of the restored Israel to come, because those who are redeemed desire to continually honor and worship God.