Daily reading for Thursday, November 14, 2013

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Ezekiel 29:1-30:26; Hebrews 11:32-12:13; Psalms 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17 (New Living Translation)

Ezekiel 29-30

A Message for Egypt

29 On January 7,[a] during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord:

“I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt—
    you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile.
For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine;
    I made it for myself.’
I will put hooks in your jaws
    and drag you out on the land
    with fish sticking to your scales.
I will leave you and all your fish
    stranded in the wilderness to die.
You will lie unburied on the open ground,
    for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds.
All the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord,
    for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds.
When Israel leaned on you,
    you splintered and broke
    and stabbed her in the armpit.
When she put her weight on you, you gave way,
    and her back was thrown out of joint.

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.

“Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ 10 I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia.[b] 11 For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. 12 I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands.

13 “But this is what the Sovereign Lord also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. 14 I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors.

16 “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

Nebuchadnezzar to Conquer Egypt

17 On April 26, the first day of the new year,[c] during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: 18 “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar[d] of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. 19 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. 20 Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign Lord, because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre.

21 “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive,[e] and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

A Sad Day for Egypt

30 This is another message that came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign Lord:

“Weep and wail
    for that day,
for the terrible day is almost here—
    the day of the Lord!
It is a day of clouds and gloom,
    a day of despair for the nations.
A sword will come against Egypt,
    and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground.
Its wealth will be carried away
    and its foundations destroyed.
The land of Ethiopia[f] will be ravished.
    Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all Arabia,[g]
and all their other allies
    will be destroyed in that war.

“For this is what the Lord says:
All of Egypt’s allies will fall,
    and the pride of her power will end.
From Migdol to Aswan[h]
    they will be slaughtered by the sword,
    says the Sovereign Lord.
Egypt will be desolate,
    surrounded by desolate nations,
and its cities will be in ruins,
    surrounded by other ruined cities.
And the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord
    when I have set Egypt on fire
    and destroyed all their allies.
At that time I will send swift messengers in ships
    to terrify the complacent Ethiopians.
Great panic will come upon them
    on that day of Egypt’s certain destruction.
Watch for it!
    It is sure to come!

10 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
By the power of King Nebuchadnezzar[i] of Babylon,
    I will destroy the hordes of Egypt.
11 He and his armies—the most ruthless of all—
    will be sent to demolish the land.
They will make war against Egypt
    until slaughtered Egyptians cover the ground.
12 I will dry up the Nile River
    and sell the land to wicked men.
I will destroy the land of Egypt and everything in it
    by the hands of foreigners.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

13 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
I will smash the idols[j] of Egypt
    and the images at Memphis.[k]
There will be no rulers left in Egypt;
    terror will sweep the land.
14 I will destroy southern Egypt,[l]
    set fire to Zoan,
    and bring judgment against Thebes.[m]
15 I will pour out my fury on Pelusium,[n]
    the strongest fortress of Egypt,
and I will stamp out
    the hordes of Thebes.
16 Yes, I will set fire to all Egypt!
    Pelusium will be racked with pain;
Thebes will be torn apart;
    Memphis will live in constant terror.
17 The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis[o] will die in battle,
    and the women[p] will be taken away as slaves.
18 When I come to break the proud strength of Egypt,
    it will be a dark day for Tahpanhes, too.
A dark cloud will cover Tahpanhes,
    and its daughters will be led away as captives.
19 And so I will greatly punish Egypt,
    and they will know that I am the Lord.”

The Broken Arms of Pharaoh

20 On April 29,[q] during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms—the good arm along with the broken one—and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. 24 I will strengthen the arms of Babylon’s king and put my sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon’s king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the Lord. 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, dispersing them throughout the earth. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Footnotes:

  1. 29:1 Hebrew On the twelfth day of the tenth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on January 7, 587 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  2. 29:10 Hebrew from Migdol to Syene as far as the border of Cush.
  3. 29:17 Hebrew On the first day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on April 26, 571 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  4. 29:18 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 29:19.
  5. 29:21 Hebrew I will cause a horn to sprout for the house of Israel.
  6. 30:4 Hebrew Cush; similarly in 30:9.
  7. 30:5 Hebrew Cush, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Cub. Cub is otherwise unknown and may be another spelling for Lub (Libya).
  8. 30:6 Hebrew to Syene.
  9. 30:10 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
  10. 30:13a The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
  11. 30:13b Hebrew Noph; also in 30:16.
  12. 30:14a Hebrew Pathros.
  13. 30:14b Hebrew No; also in 30:15, 16.
  14. 30:15 Hebrew Sin; also in 30:16.
  15. 30:17a Hebrew of Awen and Pi-beseth.
  16. 30:17b Or and her cities.
  17. 30:20 Hebrew On the seventh day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on April 29, 587 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Hebrews 11:32-12:13

32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[a] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

God’s Discipline Proves His Love

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[b] Because of the joy[c] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[d] then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?[e] He said,

“My child,[f] don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”[g]

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?[h]

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:37 Some manuscripts add some were tested.
  2. 12:2a Or Jesus, the originator and perfecter of our faith.
  3. 12:2b Or Instead of the joy.
  4. 12:3 Some manuscripts read Think of how people hurt themselves by opposing him.
  5. 12:5a Greek sons; also in 12:7, 8.
  6. 12:5b Greek son; also in 12:6, 7.
  7. 12:5-6 Prov 3:11-12 (Greek version).
  8. 12:9 Or and really live?
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Psalm 112

Psalm 112[a]

Praise the Lord!

How joyful are those who fear the Lord
    and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere;
    an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy,
    and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
    They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously
    and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil.
    Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
    and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
    They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
    They will grind their teeth in anger;
    they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Footnotes:

  1. 112 This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; after the introductory note of praise, each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 27:17

17 As iron sharpens iron,
    so a friend sharpens a friend.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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