Daily reading for Friday, November 1, 2013

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Ezekiel 1:1-3:15; Hebrews 3:1-19; Psalms 104:1-23; Proverbs 26:24-26 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 1-3:15

Ezekiel Sees the Lord’s Throne

On the fifth day of the fourth month in the thirtieth year, while I was living among the exiles by the Chebar River, the sky opened, and I saw visions from God. On the fifth day of the month, during the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiakin, the Lord spoke his word to the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, in Babylon by the Chebar River. The power of the Lord came over Ezekiel.

As I looked, I saw a storm coming from the north. There was an immense cloud with flashing lightning surrounded by a bright light. The middle of the lightning looked like glowing metal. In the center of the cloud I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were shaped like humans, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, their feet were like those of calves, and they glittered like polished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on each of their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings. Their wings touched each other. The creatures went straight ahead, and they did not turn as they moved.

10 Their faces looked like this: From the front, each creature had the face of a human. From the right, each one had the face of a lion. From the left, each one had the face of a bull. And from the back, each one had the face of an eagle. 11 That is what their faces looked like. Their wings were spread out, pointing upward. Each creature had two wings with which they touched each other. The other two wings covered their bodies. 12 Each of the creatures went straight ahead. They went wherever their spirit wanted to go, and they didn’t turn as they moved. 13 The living creatures looked like burning coals and torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures. The fire was bright, and lightning came out of the fire. 14 The living creatures ran back and forth like lightning.

15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each of them. 16 This is how the wheels looked and how they were made: They looked like beryl. All four wheels looked the same. They looked like a wheel within a wheel. 17 Whenever they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the wheels were large and frightening. They were covered with eyes.

19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them. When the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. 20 Wherever their spirit wanted to go, the creatures went. The wheels rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 So whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved. Whenever the creatures stood still, the wheels stood still. And whenever the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Something like a dome was spread over the heads of the living creatures. It looked like dazzling crystal. 23 Under the dome, each creature had two wings that were stretched out straight, touching one another. Each creature had two wings that covered its body. 24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings. The sound was like the noise of rushing water, like the thunder of the Almighty, like the commotion in an army camp. When the creatures stood still, they lowered their wings.

25 A voice came from above the dome over their heads as they stood still with their wings lowered. 26 Above the dome over their heads was something that looked like a throne made of sapphire. On the throne was a figure that looked like a human. 27 Then I saw what he looked like from the waist up. He looked like glowing bronze with fire all around it. From the waist down, he looked like fire. A bright light surrounded him. 28 The brightness all around him looked like a rainbow in the clouds. It was like the Lord’s glory. When I saw it, I immediately bowed down, and I heard someone speaking.

Ezekiel’s Vision of a Scroll

He said to me, “Son of man, stand up, and I will speak to you.” As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me, stood me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They are people from a nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have rebelled against me to this day. I am sending you to these defiant and stubborn children. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says.’ Whether these rebellious people listen or not, they will realize that a prophet has been among them. Son of man, don’t be afraid of them or the things they say. Don’t be afraid, even though thorns and thistles are around you and you live among scorpions. Don’t let the things they say frighten you. Don’t be terrified in their presence, even though they are rebellious people. Speak my words to them whether they listen or not, because they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say. Don’t be rebellious like those rebellious people. Open your mouth, and eat what I am giving to you.”

As I looked, I saw a hand stretched out toward me. In it was a scroll. 10 He spread the scroll in front of me. There was writing on the front and back. There were funeral songs, songs of mourning, and horrible things written on it.

The Lord said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find. Eat this scroll. Then speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

He said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I’m giving you, and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

He said to me, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel, and speak my words to them. I am not sending you to people whose language is hard to understand or difficult to speak. I am sending you to Israel. I am not sending you to nations whose language is hard to understand, difficult to speak, or whose words you cannot understand. If I send you to those nations, they will certainly listen to you. But the people of Israel will refuse to listen to you because they refuse to listen to me. All the people of Israel are very stubborn and hardheaded. Yet, I will make you as stubborn and as hardheaded as they are. I will make you as hard as a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be terrified in their presence, even though they are rebellious people.”

10 He also said to me, “Son of man, take to heart everything I have spoken to you, and listen closely. 11 Go to the exiles, to your people. Whether they listen or not, tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says.’”

12 Then the Spirit lifted me, and behind me I heard a loud thundering voice say, “Blessed is the Lord’s glory, which left this place.” 13 I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures touching one another and the noise of the wheels beside them as well as a loud rumbling. 14 Then the Spirit lifted me and took me away. I went away feeling bitter and angry. The strong power of the Lord came over me. 15 I went to Tel Abib, to the exiles who lived by the Chebar River. I sat there among them for seven days. I was stunned.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

Hebrews 3

Christ Is Superior to Moses

Brothers and sisters, you are holy partners in a heavenly calling. So look carefully at Jesus, the apostle and chief priest about whom we make our declaration of faith. Jesus is faithful to God, who appointed him, in the same way that Moses was faithful when he served in God’s house. Jesus deserves more praise than Moses in the same way that the builder of a house is praised more than the house. After all, every house has a builder, but the builder of everything is God.

Moses was a faithful servant in God’s household. He told the people what God would say in the future. But Christ is a faithful son in charge of God’s household. We are his household if we continue to have courage and to be proud of the confidence we have.

As the Holy Spirit says,

“If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.
    Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled
        and tested me in the desert.
            That is where your ancestors tested me,
10 although they had seen what I had done for 40 years.
    That is why I was angry with those people. So I said,
    ‘Their hearts continue to stray,
        and they have not learned my ways.’
11 So I angrily took a solemn oath
    that they would never enter my place of rest.”

12 Be careful, brothers and sisters, that none of you ever develop a wicked, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 Encourage each other every day while you have the opportunity. If you do this, none of you will be deceived by sin and become stubborn. 14 After all, we will remain Christ’s partners only if we continue to hold on to our original confidence until the end.

15 Scripture says,

“If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.
    Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled.”

16 Who heard God and rebelled? All those whom Moses led out of Egypt rebelled. 17 With whom was God angry for 40 years? He was angry with those who sinned and died in the desert. 18 Who did God swear would never enter his place of rest? He was talking about those who didn’t obey him. 19 So we see that they couldn’t enter his place of rest because they didn’t believe.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

Psalm 104:1-23

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul!
    O Lord my God, you are very great.
    You are clothed with splendor and majesty.
You cover yourself with light as though it were a robe.
    You stretch out the heavens as though they were curtains.
You lay the beams of your home in the water.
    You use the clouds for your chariot.
    You move on the wings of the wind.
You make your angels winds
    and your servants flames of fire.

You set the earth on its foundations
    so that it can never be shaken.
You covered the earth with an ocean as though it were a robe.
    Water stood above the mountains
        and fled because of your threat.
    Water ran away at the sound of your thunder.
        The mountains rose and the valleys sank
            to the place you appointed for them.
Water cannot cross the boundary you set
    and cannot come back to cover the earth.

10 You make water gush from springs into valleys.
    It flows between the mountains.
11 Every wild animal drinks from them.
    Wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds live by the streams.
    They sing among the branches.
13 You water the mountains from your home above.
    You fill the earth with the fruits of your labors.

14 You make grass grow for cattle
    and make vegetables for humans to use
        in order to get food from the ground.
15 You make wine to cheer human hearts,
    olive oil to make faces shine,
        and bread to strengthen human hearts.
16 The Lord’s trees, the cedars in Lebanon which he planted,
    drink their fill.
17 Birds build their nests in them.
    Storks make their homes in fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for wild goats.
    The rocks are a refuge for badgers.

19 He created the moon, which marks the seasons,
    and the sun, which knows when to set.
20 He brings darkness, and it is nighttime,
    when all the wild animals in the forest come out.
21 The young lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises,
    they gather and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go to do their work,
    to do their tasks until evening.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

Proverbs 26:24-26

24 Whoever is filled with hate disguises it with his speech,
    but inside he holds on to deceit.
25 When he talks charmingly, do not trust him
    because of the seven disgusting things in his heart.
26 His hatred is deceitfully hidden,
    but his wickedness will be revealed to the community.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

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