Daily reading for Saturday, November 9, 2013
Ezekiel 20:1-49; Hebrews 9:11-28; Psalms 107:1-43; Proverbs 27:11 (Common English Bible)
History of rebellion
20 In the seventh year, on the tenth day of the fifth month, some of Israel’s elders came to inquire of the Lord. As they were sitting with me, 2 the Lord’s word came to me: 3 Human one, speak to Israel’s elders and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: Have you come to petition me? As surely as I live, I reject your petitions. This is what the Lord God says! 4 Will you judge them, human one, will you judge them? Then expose to them the detestable practices of their ancestors. 5 Say to them, The Lord God proclaims: On the day I chose Israel, I swore a solemn pledge to the descendants of Jacob’s household. When I made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I swore a solemn pledge: I am the Lord your God. 6 On that day I swore that I would lead them out of the land of Egypt to a land that I would show them, a land full of milk and honey, the most splendid of all lands. 7 And I said to them, Every one of you must cast away your disgusting things. Don’t let yourselves be defiled by Egypt’s idols. I am the Lord your God. 8 But they rebelled against me and refused to listen to me. No one cast off their disgusting things or abandoned their Egyptian idols. So I declared that I would pour out my wrath on them and satisfy my anger against them in the land of Egypt. 9 But I acted for my name’s sake, so that it wouldn’t be degraded in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, and in whose sight I made it known that I would lead them out of the land of Egypt.
10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the desert. 11 I gave them my regulations and made known to them my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. 12 I also gave them my sabbaths as a sign between us that I, the Lord, have set them apart for my purpose.[a] 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t follow my regulations and rejected my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. They completely degraded my sabbaths. So I declared that I would pour out my anger against them and destroy them in the desert. 14 But instead, I acted for the sake of my name so that it wouldn’t be degraded in the sight of the nations who saw me lead them out of Egypt. 15 So in the desert I swore another solemn pledge, that I wouldn’t bring them to the land that I had given to them, a land full of milk and honey, a land more splendid than any other, 16 because they rejected my case laws, didn’t follow my regulations, and degraded my sabbaths. They had their hearts set on their idols. 17 But I had too much compassion to destroy them, so I didn’t put an end to them in the desert.
18 In the desert, I said to their children, Don’t follow your parents’ regulations or observe their case laws or become defiled by their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God! Follow my regulations! Observe my case laws and do them! 20 Make my sabbaths holy, and let them be a sign between us that I am the Lord your God. 21 But the children rebelled against me. They didn’t follow my regulations or observe my case laws, which bring life to all who observe them. They also degraded my sabbaths. So I declared that I would pour out my wrath on them and satisfy my anger against them in the desert. 22 But I restrained myself and acted for the sake of my name so that it wouldn’t be diminished in the sight of the nations who saw me lead them out of Egypt. 23 And I swore yet another solemn pledge in the desert, that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them throughout the earth, 24 because they didn’t observe my case laws, they rejected my regulations, and they degraded my sabbaths while they kept looking to their parents’ idols. 25 I also issued regulations that were not good and case laws by which they could not live. 26 I defiled them with their very gifts when they offered up all their oldest children. They were supposed to be so horrified that they would acknowledge that I am the Lord.
27 Therefore, human one, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: Yet again your ancestors defamed me by rebelling against me! 28 I brought them into the land that I swore to give to them. But when they saw all the high hills and lofty trees, there they made their sacrifices: irksome offerings here, pleasing aromas there, and drink offerings elsewhere! 29 I said to them, What shrine are you going to now? So it’s called Shrine[b] to this very day.
30 So now say to the house of Israel, The Lord God proclaims: Will you defile yourselves as your ancestors did, and will you prostitute yourself after their disgusting things? 31 When you offer up your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this very day. Should I let you seek me out, house of Israel? This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, I won’t let you seek me. 32 What is in your minds will never happen! You’ve been saying, “Let’s be like the nations and the clans of the lands in the service of wood and stone.” 33 This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, with a strong hand, an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be your king! 34 I will lead you out from the peoples and gather you from the countries where you’ve been scattered—yes, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out! 35 I will march you out to the wilderness nations, and there I will judge you face-to-face. 36 Just as I judged your ancestors in the desert of the land of Egypt, so will I judge you. This is what the Lord God says. 37 I will make you walk under the rod, and I will bring you into the covenant bond. 38 I will remove from among you those who rebel and transgress against me. I will lead them out from the land where they lived as immigrants, but they won’t enter Israel’s fertile land. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
39 But to you, house of Israel, the Lord God proclaims: Go ahead and serve your idols, all of you! But afterward, if any of you are left to listen to me,[c] you will no longer make my holy name impure with your gifts or your idols! 40 On my holy mountain, on the high mountain in Israel, the whole house of Israel will serve me there—every one of them in the land! This is what the Lord God says. There I will accept them, and there I will ask for their offerings, their finest gifts, and all their holy things. 41 When I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you are scattered, I will accept you as a pleasing aroma. Through you I will be made holy in the sight of the nations. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you to Israel’s fertile land, to the land that I swore to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember how your ways and all your wicked deeds defiled you, and you will loathe yourselves for all the wicked things that you’ve done. 44 Then, house of Israel, you will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for the sake of my name and not according to your wicked ways and ruinous deeds. This is what the Lord God says.
Fire in the southern plain
45 [d] The Lord’s word came to me: 46 Human one, face Teman, preach against the south, and prophesy against the thicket in the arid southern plain. 47 Say to the thicket in the arid southern plain: Hear the Lord God’s word. This is what the Lord God says: I’m about to set a fire in you, and it will consume every green and every dry tree in you. Its blazing flame won’t be put out, and everything from south to north will be scorched. 48 Everyone will see that I, the Lord, have set it on fire. It won’t be quenched. 49 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God! They say about me, ‘Isn’t he one for making metaphors?’”
11 But Christ has appeared as the high priest of the good things that have happened. He passed through the greater and more perfect meeting tent, which isn’t made by human hands (that is, it’s not a part of this world). 12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time. 13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of cows made spiritually contaminated people holy and clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Jesus wash our consciences clean from dead works in order to serve the living God? He offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice without any flaw.
Christ’s death and the new covenant
15 This is why he’s the mediator of a new covenant (which is a will): so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance on the basis of his death. His death occurred to set them free from the offenses committed under the first covenant. 16 When there is a will, you need to confirm the death of the one who made the will. 17 This is because a will takes effect only after a death, since it’s not in force while the one who made the will is alive. 18 So not even the first covenant was put into effect without blood. 19 Moses took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the Law scroll itself and all the people after he had proclaimed every command of the Law to all the people. 20 While he did it, he said, This is the blood of the covenant that God established for you.[a] 21 And in the same way he sprinkled the meeting tent and also all the equipment that would be used in the priests’ service with blood. 22 Almost everything is cleansed by blood, according to the Law’s regulations, and there is no forgiveness without blood being shed.
23 So it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be cleansed with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things had to be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. 24 Christ didn’t enter the holy place (which is a copy of the true holy place) made by human hands, but into heaven itself, so that he now appears in God’s presence for us. 25 He didn’t enter to offer himself over and over again, like the high priest enters the earthly holy place every year with blood that isn’t his. 26 If that were so, then Jesus would have to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. Instead, he has now appeared once at the end of the ages to get rid of sin by sacrificing himself. 27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment. 28 In the same way, Christ was also offered once to take on himself the sins of many people. He will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
107 “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever!”
2 That’s what those who are redeemed by the Lord say,
the ones God redeemed from the power of their enemies,
3 the ones God gathered from various countries,
from east and west, north and south.
4 Some of the redeemed had wandered into the desert, into the wasteland.
They couldn’t find their way to a city or town.
5 They were hungry and thirsty;
their lives were slipping away.
6 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances.
7 God led them straight to human habitation.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people,
9 because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst,
and he filled up the hungry with good things!
10 Some of the redeemed had been sitting in darkness and deep gloom;
they were prisoners suffering in chains
11 because they had disobeyed God’s instructions
and rejected the Most High’s plans.
12 So God humbled them with hard work.
They stumbled, and there was no one to help them.
13 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
14 God brought them out from the darkness and deep gloom;
he shattered their chains.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people,
16 because God has shattered bronze doors
and split iron bars in two!
17 Some of the redeemed were fools because of their sinful ways.
They suffered because of their wickedness.
18 They had absolutely no appetite for food;
they had arrived at death’s gates.
19 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
20 God gave the order and healed them;
he rescued them from their pit.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people.
22 Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices
and declare what God has donein songs of joy!
23 Some of the redeemed had gone out on the ocean in ships,
making their living on the high seas.
24 They saw what the Lord had made;
they saw his wondrous works in the depths of the sea.
25 God spoke and stirred up a storm
that brought the waves up high.
26 The waves went as high as the sky;
they crashed down to the depths.
The sailors’ courage melted at this terrible situation.
27 They staggered and stumbled around like they were drunk.
None of their skill was of any help.
28 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God brought them out safe from their desperate circumstances.
29 God quieted the storm to a whisper;
the sea’s waves were hushed.
30 So they rejoiced because the waves had calmed down;
then God led them to the harbor they were hoping for.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people.
32 Let them exalt God in the congregation of the people
and praise God in the assembly of the elders.
33 God turns rivers into desert,
watery springs into thirsty ground,
34 fruitful land into unproductive dirt,
when its inhabitants are wicked.
35 But God can also turn the desert into watery pools,
thirsty ground into watery springs,
36 where he settles the hungry.
They even build a city and live there!
37 They plant fields and vineyards
and obtain a fruitful harvest.
38 God blesses them, and they become many.
God won’t even let their cattle diminish.
39 But when they do diminish—
when they’re brought down by oppression, trouble, and grief—
40 God pours contempt on their leaders,
making them wander aimlessly in the wastelands.
41 But God raises the needy from their suffering;
he makes their families as numerous as sheep!
42 Those who do right see it and celebrate,
but every wicked person shuts their mouth.
43 Whoever is wise will pay attention to these things,
carefully considering the Lord’s faithful love.
11 Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad,
so I can answer those who insult me.