Daily reading for Saturday, November 2, 2013

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Ezekiel 3:16-6:14; Hebrews 4:1-16; Psalms 104:24-35; Proverbs 26:27 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 3:16-6:14

Ezekiel Is Appointed to Be a Watchman

16 After seven days the Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the people of Israel. Listen to what I say, and warn them for me. 18 Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don’t warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives. Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don’t turn from their wicked ways. Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself. 20 If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die. If you don’t warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered. I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin, and they don’t sin, they will certainly live because they listened to the warning. You will save yourself.”

The Lord Gives Ezekiel Directions to Follow

22 The power of the Lord came over me. He said, “Get up, and go to the plain. I will speak to you there.” 23 I got up and went to the plain. The Lord’s glory was standing there like the glory I saw by the Chebar River, and I immediately bowed down.

24 Then the Spirit entered me and stood me on my feet. He talked to me. He said, “Go into your home, and shut yourself inside. 25 People will tie you up with ropes, son of man, so that you can’t go outside. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you can’t talk or criticize them, even though they are rebellious people. 27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth. You will tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says.’ Some will listen, and some will refuse to listen. They are rebellious people.”

Ezekiel Plays Out the Blockade of Jerusalem

The Lord said, “Son of man, take clay, put it in front of you, and draw a map of Jerusalem on it. Set up a blockade against it, build attack walls around it, put up dirt ramps around it, have troops ready to attack it, and place battering rams all around it. Then take an iron pan, and set it up as a wall between you and the city. Turn your face toward the city as if you were going to attack it, and then attack it. This is a sign for the people of Israel.

“Then lie on your left side and take the punishment of the nation of Israel yourself. You will bear its punishment as many days as you lie on that side. I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last. So for 390 days, you will bear the punishment for the sins of the nation of Israel. When you finish this, you will lie down again, this time on your right side. You will bear the punishment for the sins of the nation of Judah for 40 days, one day for each year I have assigned to you. Turn your face toward the blockaded Jerusalem. Shake your fist and prophesy against it. I will tie you up with ropes so that you will not be able to turn from one side to the other until you have finished attacking Jerusalem.

“Then take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and winter wheat. Put them in a container, and use them to make bread for yourself. Eat it during the 390 days that you are lying on your side. 10 The food that you eat should be weighed. Eat eight ounces of food every day at set times. 11 Measure out two-thirds of a quart of water, and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the bread as you would eat barley loaves. Bake the bread in front of people, using human excrement for fuel.”

13 Then the Lord said, “In the same way, the people of Israel will eat unclean[a] bread among the nations where I scatter them.”

14 I answered, “Almighty Lord, I have never dishonored myself. From the time I was young until now, I have never eaten an animal that died by itself or was killed by other wild animals. No unclean meat has ever entered my mouth.”

15 He said to me, “I will let you use cow manure in place of human excrement. Bake your bread over it.”

16 He also said to me, “Son of man, I am going to cut off the bread supply in Jerusalem. People will anxiously eat rationed bread and fearfully drink rationed water. 17 They will be shocked at the sight of each other because of the lack of food and water. They will waste away because of their sin.”

The Lord Tells Ezekiel about the Fall of Jerusalem

The Lord said, “Son of man, take a sharp blade, and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and beard. Take scales to weigh your hair and divide it into three even parts. When the blockade is over, burn one-third of your hair in a fire in the middle of the city. Take another third, and cut it up with a blade around the city. Then scatter the remaining third to the wind, and I will draw a sword and go after it. Take a few strands of hair, and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. Later, take some of them, and throw them in a fire and burn them up. From there a fire will spread throughout the whole nation of Israel.

“This is what the Almighty Lord says: This is Jerusalem! I have placed it in the center of the nations with countries all around it. The people of Jerusalem have rebelled against my rules and my laws more than the surrounding nations. They have rejected my rules, and they don’t live by my laws.

“So this is what the Almighty Lord says: People of Jerusalem, you have caused more trouble than the nations around you. You haven’t lived by my laws or obeyed my rules. You haven’t even lived up to the standards of the nations around you.

“So this is what the Almighty Lord says: I, too, am against you, and I will punish you in front of the nations. Because of all the detestable things that you do, I will do things to you that I have never done before and will never do again. 10 That is why parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter whoever is left to the wind.

11 “As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, because you have dishonored my holy worship place with all your disgusting and detestable things, I will have you killed. I will not have compassion for you or feel sorry for you. 12 One-third of you will die in plagues and be devoured in famines. Another third will die in battles against those around you. I will scatter the remaining third to the wind, and I will pursue them with a sword.

13 “I will unleash my anger. I will use my fury against you, and I will get revenge. When my fury is unleashed against you, you will know that I, the Lord, spoke to you while I was angry. 14 I will turn you into a wasteland and an object of ridicule among the nations around you and in the presence of everyone who passes by you. 15 The nations that are around you will ridicule you and laugh at you. When I punish you because of my anger, fury, and fierce revenge, you will become something ridiculed and something horrible. I, the Lord, have spoken. 16 When I shoot my destructive arrows of famine at you, I will shoot to kill you. I will bring more and more famines into your land, and I will cut off your food supply. 17 I will send famines and wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children. I will send plagues, violence, and wars to kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

A Prophecy against the Mountains of Israel

The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, look toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them. Say this, ‘You mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Almighty Lord! This is what the Almighty Lord says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am going to attack you with a sword and destroy your worship sites. Your altars will be destroyed, and your incense burners will be smashed. I will kill people in front of your idols. I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel in front of your idols, and I will scatter their bones around your altars. Wherever people live, the cities will be ruined, and the worship sites will be wrecked. Your altars will be ruined and demolished. Your idols will be smashed and completely destroyed. Your incense burners will be cut down, and everything you have done will be wiped out. People will be killed, and they will fall among you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“‘But I will let some people live. Some people will escape the battle among the nations and be scattered throughout the countries. Then those who escape will remember me among the nations where they are taken captive. I was hurt by their adulterous hearts, which turned away from me, and by their eyes, which lusted after idols. They will hate themselves for the evil and disgusting things that they have done. 10 Then you will know that I am the Lord and that the disaster I promised was not an empty threat.

11 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and say, “Oh no!” because the people of Israel have done evil and disgusting things. So they will die in wars, famines, and plagues. 12 Plagues will kill those who are far away. Those who are near will die in wars, and anyone who is left and has escaped will die in famines. This is how I will unleash my anger. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“‘Those who are killed will lie beside the idols around their altars. They will lie on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, and under every large tree and every leafy oak. These are the places where they made offerings to their disgusting idols. 14 I will use my power against them and destroy the land, from the desert to Diblah. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 4:13 “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Hebrews 4

We Will Enter God’s Place of Rest

God’s promise that we may enter his place of rest still stands. We are afraid that some of you think you won’t enter his place of rest. We have heard the same Good News that your ancestors heard. But the message didn’t help those who heard it in the past because they didn’t believe.

We who believe are entering that place of rest. As God said, “So I angrily took a solemn oath that they would never enter my place of rest.” God said this even though he had finished his work when he created the world. Somewhere in Scripture God has said this about the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.”

God also said in the same passage, “They will never enter my place of rest.” However, some people enter that place of rest. Those who heard the Good News in the past did not enter God’s place of rest because they did not obey God. So God set another day. That day is today. Many years after your ancestors failed to enter that place of rest God spoke about it through David in the passage already quoted: “If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn.” If Joshua had given the people rest, God would not have spoken about another day. Therefore, a time of rest and worship exists for God’s people. 10 Those who entered his place of rest also rested from their work as God did from his.

11 So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest. Then no one will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey.

12 God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions. 13 No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him.

Christ Is Superior to Other Chief Priests

14 We need to hold on to our declaration of faith: We have a superior chief priest who has gone through the heavens. That person is Jesus, the Son of God. 15 We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. 16 So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness[a] to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 4:16 Or “grace.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Psalm 104:24-35

24 What a large number of things you have made, O Lord!
    You made them all by wisdom.
        The earth is filled with your creatures.
25 The sea is so big and wide with countless creatures,
    living things both large and small.
26 Ships sail on it,
    and Leviathan,[a] which you made, plays in it.
27 All of them look to you to give them their food at the right time.
28 You give it to them, and they gather it up.
    You open your hand, and they are filled with blessings.
29 You hide your face, and they are terrified.
    You take away their breath, and they die and return to dust.
30 You send out your Spirit, and they are created.
    You renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever.
    May the Lord find joy in what he has made.
32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles.
    He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord throughout my life.
    I will make music to praise my God as long as I live.
34 May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
    I will find joy in the Lord.
35 May sinners vanish from the world.
    May there no longer be any wicked people.
    Praise the Lord, my soul!

Hallelujah!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 104:26 Hebrew meaning uncertain.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Proverbs 26:27

27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it.
    Whoever rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.

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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