Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 48
This magnificent piece of literature closes with a vision of the dividing of the restored nation among the tribes. The description of the land division is a bit difficult to picture, but a Google search of “Ezekiel 48 map” will give you a good idea. This restoration hearkens back to Ezekiel 37:15-28 and the reuniting of all the tribes of Judah and Israel (there called Joseph and Ephraim) as one. From a chronological perspective, Israel will never again be divided. Though the first nine Minor Prophets will speak of the nations of Israel and Judah separately, it must be remembered that only the last three (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) were written after the captivity. The 17 prophetic books (Isaiah-Malachi) are not organized by chronology, but by length, and then (somewhat) by chronology within the two divisions. One more thing that might be mentioned is there may be something implied as Judah and Benjamin are closest to the temple sanctuary. Perhaps this is because these were the two tribes who remained faithful the longest and where Jerusalem was located. Dan lies to the extreme north, farthest away, and was generally held in low esteem among the other tribes, so much so as to be completely omitted by John in Revelation 7:5-8 and replaced with Manasseh.
New Testament reading: Romans 13-14
In Romans 13:8-10, Paul reaffirms what Jesus had taught years earlier in Matthew 22:36-40. Namely, that the intentional and diligent practice of love is the fulfillment of all of God’s commands. What’s more, Paul is clear that we owe love to every single living person, whether family, friend or foe. Paul referenced the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments as being contingent on such love. This is only a few brief sentences removed from Paul’s admonition in Romans 12 to “bless those who persecute you” (v 14), “repay no man evil for evil” (v 17), “have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (v 17), “live peaceably with all men” (v 18), and to feed our hungry enemies and give drink to our thirsty ones (v 20). As I see increasing violence in our world, it is difficult for me to get my mind right toward those who advocate such, especially Muslims. Does Jesus love these people? Did He die for them? He did. I must do the same.