Daily reading for Saturday, November 9, 2013

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Ezekiel 20:1-49; Hebrews 9:11-28; Psalms 107:1-43; Proverbs 27:11 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 20

Israel’s Past and Present Sins

20 On the tenth day of the fifth month in the seventh year, some of the leaders of Israel came to ask for the Lord’s help. They sat in front of me.

Then the Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, speak to the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Are you coming to ask me for help? As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, you will not be allowed to ask me for help.’

“Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man? Tell them about the disgusting things their ancestors did. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: When I chose Israel, I raised my hand and swore an oath to the descendants of Jacob’s family. I made myself known to them in Egypt. I made a promise to them and said, “I am the Lord your God.” At that time I promised to bring them out of Egypt to a land that I had chosen for them. This land is the most beautiful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. I said to them, “Get rid of the detestable idols that you look to for help. Don’t dishonor yourselves with the disgusting idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

“‘But they rebelled against me and refused to listen to me. Not one of them got rid of the detestable idols that they looked to for help. They didn’t abandon the disgusting idols of Egypt. So I was going to pour out my fury on them and unleash my anger on them in Egypt. But I acted so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations where they were living. While other nations were watching, I made myself known to them by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt.

10 “‘So I brought the Israelites out of Egypt and led them into the desert. 11 I gave them my laws and made my rules known to them. If people obey them they will live. 12 I also gave them certain days to worship me as a sign between us so that they would know that I, the Lord, made them holy.

13 “‘But the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t live by my laws, and they rejected my rules. If people obey them, they will live. They dishonored the days to worship me. So I was going to pour out my fury on them in the desert and completely wipe them out. 14 But I acted so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations who had watched me bring the Israelites out of Egypt. 15 I also swore an oath to them in the desert. I swore that I would not bring them into the land that I had promised to give them. This land is the most beautiful land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 16 They rejected my rules, and they didn’t live by my laws. They dishonored the days to worship me, because their hearts chased disgusting idols. 17 But I had compassion on them. I didn’t destroy them or completely wipe them out in the desert. 18 I said to their children in the desert, “Don’t live by the laws of your ancestors. Don’t obey their rules or dishonor yourselves with their disgusting idols. 19 I am the Lord your God. Live by my laws. Obey my rules and follow them. 20 Set apart certain holy days to worship me. This will be a sign between me and you so that you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

21 “‘But they rebelled against me. They didn’t live by my laws, and they didn’t obey my rules and follow them. If people obey them, they will live. They dishonored the days to worship me. So I was going to pour out my fury on them and unleash my anger on them in the desert. 22 But I didn’t use my power so that my name would not be dishonored among the nations who had watched me bring the Israelites out of Egypt. 23 I raised my hand and swore an oath to them in the desert. I promised to scatter them among the nations and force them into other countries. 24 They didn’t follow my rules, and they rejected my laws. They dishonored the days to worship me, and they looked to their ancestors’ disgusting idols for help. 25 I also allowed them to follow laws that were no good and rules by which they could not live. 26 I let them dishonor themselves when they sacrificed all their firstborn sons as gifts to their false gods. I terrified them so that they would know that I am the Lord.’

27 “Speak to the nation of Israel, son of man. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Your ancestors insulted me again because they were unfaithful to me. 28 I brought them to the land that I promised to give them. When they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, they made sacrifices and brought offerings there to make me angry. There they offered their sacrifices and poured out their wine offerings. 29 Then I asked them, “What is this worship site you’re going to?”’ (So it is still called ‘worship site’ today.)

30 “Tell the nation of Israel, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Will you dishonor yourselves the way your ancestors did? Will you chase their detestable idols like a prostitute? 31 You offer your children as sacrifices by burning them alive. You dishonor yourselves with all your disgusting idols to this day. Should you be allowed to ask me for help, nation of Israel?

“‘As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, you won’t be allowed to ask me for help. 32 What you have in mind will never happen. You think that you want to be like other nations, like the different people in other countries. You want to serve wood and stone.

33 “‘As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, I will rule you with a mighty hand and a powerful arm, and I will pour out my fury. 34 I will bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where I have scattered you with my mighty hand and powerful arm. I will pour out my fury. 35 I will bring you into the desert of the nations. There I will put you on trial face to face. 36 I will put you on trial as I put your ancestors on trial in the desert of Egypt, declares the Almighty Lord. 37 Then I will make you suffer punishment and make you keep the terms of the promise.[a] 38 I will get rid of rebels and those who do wrong against me. I will bring you out of the land where you are living. You will never enter Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Israel’s Future

39 “‘Nation of Israel, this is what the Almighty Lord says: Serve your disgusting idols. But afterwards, you will listen to me. You will no longer dishonor my holy name with your gifts and your disgusting idols.

40 “‘The entire nation of Israel, everyone in the land, will worship me on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Almighty Lord. There I will accept you. There I will look for your offerings, your best gifts, and all your holy gifts. 41 When I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, I will accept you as if you were a pleasing sacrifice. Through you I will reveal myself as holy to the nations that are watching. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, because I will bring you to the land of Israel, the land that I promised to give your ancestors. 43 There you will remember the way you lived and everything you did to dishonor yourselves. You will be disgusted by every wrong thing that you did. 44 Then you will know that I am the Lord, because I will deal with you for the sake of my name. I will not deal with you based on the evil and corrupt things that you have done, nation of Israel, declares the Almighty Lord.’”[b]

The Burning Forest

45 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 46 “Son of man, turn to the south, preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest in the Negev. 47 Tell the forest in the Negev, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord. This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am about to set fire to you to destroy all your green trees and all your dry trees. The blazing fire will not be put out. It will burn the whole land from the south to the north. 48 Then everyone will know that I, the Lord, started the fire. It will never be put out.’”

49 Then I said, “Oh no! Almighty Lord, no! The people already say that I’m only telling stories.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 20:37 Or “covenant.”
  2. Ezekiel 20:44 Ezekiel 20:45–49 in English Bibles is Ezekiel 21:1–5 in the Hebrew Bible.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Hebrews 9:11-28

11 But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. 12 He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever.

13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of cows sprinkled on unclean[a] people made their bodies holy and clean. 14 The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God.

15 Because Christ offered himself to God, he is able to bring a new promise from God. Through his death he paid the price to set people free from the sins they committed under the first promise. He did this so that those who are called can be guaranteed an inheritance that will last forever.

16 In order for a will to take effect, it must be shown that the one who made it has died. 17 A will is used only after a person is dead because it goes into effect only when a person dies.

18 That is why even the first promise was made with blood. 19 As Scripture tells us, Moses told all the people every commandment. Then he took the blood of calves and goats together with some water, red yarn, and hyssop and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “Here is the blood that seals the promise God has made to you.” 21 In the same way, Moses sprinkled blood on the tent and on everything used in worship. 22 As Moses’ Teachings tell us, blood was used to cleanse almost everything, because if no blood is shed, no sins can be forgiven.

23 The copies of the things in heaven had to be cleansed by these sacrifices. But the heavenly things themselves had to be cleansed by better sacrifices. 24 Christ didn’t go into a holy place made by human hands. He didn’t go into a model of the real thing. Instead, he went into heaven to appear in God’s presence on our behalf. 25 Every year the chief priest went into the holy place to make a sacrifice with blood that isn’t his own. However, Christ didn’t go into heaven to sacrifice himself again and again. 26 Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once to remove sin by his sacrifice. 27 People die once, and after that they are judged. 28 Likewise, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity, and after that he will appear a second time. This time he will not deal with sin, but he will save those who eagerly wait for him.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 9:13 “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

Psalm 107

BOOK FIVE

(Psalms 107–150)

Psalm 107

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
    because his mercy endures forever.

Let the people the Lord defended repeat these words.
    They are the people he defended from the power of their enemies
        and gathered from other countries,
            from the east and from the west,
            from the north and from the south.
They wandered around the desert on a deserted road
    without finding an inhabited city.
They were hungry and thirsty.
    They began to lose hope.
In their distress they cried out to the Lord.
    He rescued them from their troubles.
He led them on a road that went straight to an inhabited city.

Let them give thanks to the Lord because of his mercy.
    He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants.
He gave plenty to drink to those who were thirsty.
    He filled those who were hungry with good food.
10 Those who lived in the dark, in death’s shadow
    were prisoners in misery.
        They were held in iron chains
11 because they had rebelled against God’s words
    and had despised the advice given by the Most High.
12 So he humbled them with hard work.
    They fell down, but no one was there to help them.
13 In their distress they cried out to the Lord.
    He saved them from their troubles.
14 He brought them out of the dark, out of death’s shadow.
    He broke apart their chains.

15 Let them give thanks to the Lord because of his mercy.
    He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants.
16 He shattered bronze gates
    and cut iron bars in two.
17 Fools suffered because of their disobedience
    and because of their crimes.
18 All food was disgusting to them,
    and they came near death’s gates.
19 In their distress they cried out to the Lord.
    He saved them from their troubles.
20 He sent his message and healed them.
    He rescued them from the grave.

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord because of his mercy.
    He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants.
22 Let them bring songs of thanksgiving as their sacrifice.
    Let them tell in joyful songs what he has done.
23 Those who sail on the sea in ships,
    who do business on the high seas,
24 have seen what the Lord can do,
    the miracles he performed in the depths of the sea.
25 He spoke, and a storm began to blow,
    and it made the waves rise high.
26 The sailors aboard ship rose toward the sky.
    They plunged into the depths.
        Their courage melted in the face of disaster.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunks,
    and all their skills as sailors became useless.
28 In their distress they cried out to the Lord.
    He led them from their troubles.
29 He made the storm calm down,
    and the waves became still.
30 The sailors were glad that the storm was quiet.
    He guided them to the harbor they had longed for.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord because of his mercy.
    He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants.
32 Let them glorify him when the people are gathered for worship.
    Let them praise him in the company of respected leaders.
33 He changes rivers into a desert,
    springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fertile ground into a layer of salt
    because of the wickedness of the people living there.
35 He changes deserts into lakes
    and dry ground into springs.
36 There he settles those who are hungry,
    and they build cities to live in.
37 They plant in fields and vineyards
    that produce crops.
38 He blesses them, and their numbers multiply,
    and he does not allow a shortage of cattle.

39 They became few in number and were humiliated
    because of oppression, disaster, and sorrow.
40 He poured contempt on their influential people
    and made them stumble around in a pathless desert.
41 But now he lifts needy people high above suffering
    and makes their families like flocks.
42 Decent people will see this and rejoice,
    but all the wicked people will shut their mouths.

43 Let those who think they are wise
    pay attention to these things
        so that they may understand the Lord’s blessings.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Proverbs 27:11

11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad
    so that I can answer anyone who criticizes me.

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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