Daily reading for Sunday, November 10, 2013
Ezekiel 21:1-22:31; Hebrews 10:1-17; Psalms 108:1-13; Proverbs 27:12 (Common English Bible)
21 [a] The Lord’s word came to me: 2 Human one, face Jerusalem, preach against their sanctuary, and prophesy against Israel’s fertile land. 3 Say to Israel’s fertile land, The Lord proclaims: I’m now against you! I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off both the righteous and the wicked from you. 4 In order to cut off the righteous and wicked from you, my sword will go out from its sheath against everyone from south to north. 5 And everyone will know that I, the Lord, have taken my sword out of its sheath. It won’t be put away again.
6 You, human one, groan in their sight; groan bitterly with trembling knees. 7 If they ask you why you’re groaning, say to them, “Because of the news.” When it comes, every heart will despair, every hand will hang lifeless, every spirit will be listless, and urine will run down every leg. It’s coming! It will happen! This is what the Lord God says.
The sword dance
8 The Lord’s word came to me: 9 Human one, prophesy! Say, The Lord proclaims! Say:
A sword! A sharp and polished sword!
10 For utter slaughter it is sharpened,
polished to flash like lightning.
Let’s not rejoice, because no one will escape the purge.[b]
11 He appoints it for polishing, to seize in the hand.
The sword is sharpened, it is polished;
it is ready for the destroyer’s hand.
12 Human one, cry aloud, and wail,
for it comes against my people,
against all of Israel’s princes,
handed over to the sword along with my people.
Therefore, strike your thigh. 13 He’s testing.
When even the rod rejects,
will it not certainly happen?[c]
This is what the Lord God says.
14 And you, human one, prophesy!
Strike hand to hand.
Let the sword strike twice, three times!
It’s a deadly sword,
a great deadly sword.
It whirls around them
15 to make hearts shudder,
to make many stumble and fall.
I’ve set the slaughtering sword
against all their gates.
Oh! It’s crafted to flash like lightning,
polished for slaughter!
16 Stab again and again! Plunge right,
plunge left, wherever your edge goes.
17 It is I who strike hand to hand!
I’ll satisfy my wrath! I, the Lord, have spoken.
18 The Lord’s word came to me: 19 You, human one, mark two roads for the coming of the sword of the king of Babylon. They should diverge from a single country. Where the road to the city begins, set up a sign, 20 and point out the way for the sword to come: “To Rabbah of the Ammonites” or “To Judah in its stronghold Jerusalem.” 21 The king of Babylon stands at the fork in the road where the two roads begin and performs his divinations. He shakes the arrows, consults the divine images, and inspects the liver. 22 On his right side appeared the omen for Jerusalem: to put battering rams in place, to proclaim war and raise the alarm, to place battering rams against the gates, and to set up siege ramps and build towers. 23 It seems to them like a lying divination, because solemn pledges had been sworn to them. But he will remind them of their guilt, and they will be captured.
24 So the Lord God proclaims: Now that you have remembered your guilt and your treacheries are exposed, your sins can be seen in everything you do. Because you have brought your guilt to light, you will be captured! 25 But you vile, wicked prince of Israel whose day has come, the time of final punishment, 26 this is what the Lord God says: Remove the turban, take off the crown! Nothing will be as it was. Bring down the exalted, and exalt the lowly. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin, I’ll make it! Such a thing has never happened! Even before the rightful judge comes, I’ve handed it over to him.
Avenging Ammon’s disgrace
28 You, human one, prophesy and say, The Lord God proclaims to the Ammonites concerning their disgrace. Say, Sword! Sword unsheathed for slaughter, burnished, battle-ready,[d] flashing like lightning: 29 False visions and lying divinations set you against the necks of vile, wicked men whose day had come, the time of final punishment. 30 Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31 I will pour out my wrath against you. With a raging fire I will blow against you, and I will hand you over to those who burn and forge destruction. 32 Fire will consume you, your blood will sink into the earth, and you will no longer be remembered. I, the Lord, have spoken.
22 The Lord’s word came to me: 2 You, human one, will you judge? Will you judge the bloody city? Then explain all her detestable practices to her. 3 Say, The Lord God proclaims: City, self-destructive blood-letter, self-defiling idol maker: 4 All the blood that you’ve shed is your punishment, and all the idols that you’ve made are your defilement. This is how you’ve shortened your days and hastened the end[e] of your years! For this reason I’ve given you over to the ridicule of nations and the derision of every land. 5 Those from near and far will mock your infamous name and great chaos. 6 Look, Israel’s princes, every one of them, have joined forces to shed blood in you. 7 In you they treat father and mother with contempt. In you they oppress immigrants and deny the rights of orphans and widows. 8 You despise my holy things and degrade my sabbaths. 9 In you slanderers show up to shed blood. In you they eat on the mountains. In you they do obscene things. 10 In you a father’s nakedness is uncovered. In you menstruating women are violated. 11 Every man engages in detestable practices with his neighbor’s wife, every man defiles his daughter-in-law with obscene acts, and every man violates his sister, his own father’s daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood. You collect interest and fees, you profit by extorting your neighbor, and you neglect even me! This is what the Lord God says.
13 I now strike my hands over your ill-gotten gain and blood that’s been shed in you. 14 Will your strength and courage endure when I deal with you? I am the Lord: I speak, and I act! 15 I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you throughout the lands, and so I will remove your uncleanness from you. 16 When you are degraded[f] like this in the sight of the nations, then you will know that I am the Lord.
17 The Lord’s word came to me: 18 Human one, the house of Israel has become a waste product for me. They are all copper, tin, iron, and lead. In the furnace, they’ve become the waste product of silver. 19 So this is what the Lord God says: Because you’ve all become a waste product, I’m now gathering you into the middle of Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are collected and placed in a furnace to fan the flames under them and melt them down, so in my anger and rage I will collect you, put you in, and melt you down. 21 I will gather you, fan the flames of my wrath under you, and melt you down in the middle of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted in it. You will know that I, the Lord, have poured out my rage on you.
23 The Lord’s word came to me: 24 Human one, say to her, You are an unclean land without rain on the day of reckoning. 25 The conspiracy of princes[g] in her is like a roaring lion ripping up prey. They’ve piled up wealth and precious goods and made many widows in her. 26 Her priests have done violence to my instructions and made my holy things impure. They have not clearly separated the holy from the ordinary, and they have not taught the difference between unclean and clean things. They’ve disregarded my sabbaths. So I’ve been degraded among them. 27 The officials in her are like wolves ripping up prey. They shed blood and destroy lives for unjust riches. 28 Her prophets have whitewashed everything for them, seeing false visions and making wrong predictions for them, saying, “This is what the Lord God says,” when the Lord hasn’t spoken. 29 The important people of the land have practiced extortion and have committed robbery. They’ve oppressed the poor and mistreated the immigrant. They’ve oppressed and denied justice. 30 I looked for anyone to repair the wall and stand in the gap for me on behalf of the land, so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. But I couldn’t find anyone. 31 So I’ve poured out my anger on them. With my furious fire I’ve finished them off. I’ve held them accountable. This is what the Lord God proclaims.
Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice
10 The Law is a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. It never can perfect the ones who are trying to draw near to God through the same sacrifices that are offered continually every year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered? If the people carrying out their religious duties had been completely cleansed once, no one would have been aware of sin anymore. 3 Instead, these sacrifices are a reminder of sin every year, 4 because it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when he comes into the world he says,
You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering,
but you prepared a body for me;
6 you weren’t pleased with entirely burned offerings or a sin offering.
7 So then I said,
“Look, I’ve come to do your will, God.
This has been written about me in the scroll.”[a]
8 He says above, You didn’t want and you weren’t pleased with a sacrifice or an offering or with entirely burned offerings or a purification offering,[b] which are offered because the Law requires them. 9 Then he said, Look, I’ve come to do your will.[c] He puts an end to the first to establish the second. 10 We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all.
11 Every priest stands every day serving and offering the same sacrifices over and over, sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right side of God. 13 Since then, he’s waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for his feet, 14 because he perfected the people who are being made holy with one offering for all time.
15 The Holy Spirit affirms this when saying,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them.
After these days, says the Lord,
I will place my laws in their hearts
and write them on their minds.
17 And I won’t remember their sins
and their lawless behavior anymore.[d]
A song. A psalm of David.
108 My heart is unwavering, God.
I will sing and make music—
yes, with my whole being!
2 Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake the dawn itself!
3 I will give thanks to you, Lord, among all the peoples;
I will make music to you among the nations,
4 because your faithful love is higher than heaven;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
5 Exalt yourself, God, higher than heaven!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
6 Save me by your power and answer me
so that the people you love might be rescued.
7 God has spoken in his sanctuary:
“I will celebrate as I divide up Shechem
and portion out the Succoth Valley.
8 Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.
9 But Moab is my washbowl;
I’ll throw my shoe at Edom.
I shout in triumph over Philistia!
10 I wish someone would bring me to a fortified city!
I wish someone would lead me to Edom!”
11 But you have rejected us, God, haven’t you?
You, God, no longer accompany our armies.
12 Give us help against the enemy—
human help is worthless.
13 With God we will triumph:
God is the one who will trample our adversaries.
12 Prudent people see evil and hide;
the simpleminded go right to it and get punished.