Daily reading for Saturday, November 16, 2013

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Ezekiel 33:1-34:31; Hebrews 13:1-25; Psalms 115:1-18; Proverbs 27:21-22 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 33-34

Ezekiel Is Called to Be a Watchman

33 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, speak to your people. Tell them, ‘Suppose I bring war on this country, and the people of this country choose one of their men and make him their watchman. If he sees the enemy coming to attack the country, he will blow his horn to warn the people. If the people hear the horn and ignore the warning and the enemy comes and takes them, they will be responsible for their own deaths. They heard the sound of the horn but ignored its warning. So they are responsible for their own deaths. If they had taken the warning, they would have saved themselves.

“‘But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t blow his horn to warn the people and the enemy comes and kills someone, that watchman must die because of his sin. I will hold him responsible for their deaths.’

“Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the people of Israel. Listen to what I say, and warn them for me. Suppose I say to a wicked person, ‘You wicked person, you will certainly die,’ and you say nothing to warn him to change his ways. That wicked person will die because of his sin, and I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his ways and he doesn’t turn from them, then he will die because of his sin. However, you will save yourself.

10 “Son of man, say to the people of Israel, ‘You have said this, “Our wickedness and our sins weigh us down, and we are rotting away because of them. How can we live?”’

11 “Tell them, ‘As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, I don’t want wicked people to die. Rather, I want them to turn from their ways and live. Change the way you think and act! Turn from your wicked ways! Do you want to die, people of Israel?’

12 “Son of man, say to your people, ‘The right things that a righteous person has done will not save him when he rebels. The wicked things that a wicked person has done will not make him stumble when he turns from his wickedness. The righteous person will not live when he sins.’ 13 I may promise the righteous person that he will certainly live. But if he trusts in the right things that he has done and he does evil, none of the right things that he has done will be remembered. He will die because of the evil things he has done. 14 I may warn the wicked person that he will certainly die. But suppose he turns from his sin and does what is fair and right. 15 He returns the security for a loan, pays back everything he stole, lives by the rules of life, and does nothing evil. Then he will certainly live. He will not die. 16 None of the sins that he has done will be remembered. He has done what is fair and right. He will certainly live.

17 “But your people say, ‘The Lord’s way is unfair.’ Yet, their ways are unfair. 18 If the righteous person turns from the right things that he has done and does evil, he will die because of it. 19 If the wicked person turns from his wickedness and does what is fair and right, he will live because of it. 20 Yet, the people of Israel say, ‘The Lord’s way is unfair.’ I will judge each of you by your own ways, people of Israel.”

21 On the fifth day of the tenth month in the twelfth year of our captivity, a refugee from Jerusalem came to me. He said, “The city has been captured.” 22 The evening before the refugee arrived, the power of the Lord came over me. On the morning the refugee arrived, the Lord made me speak. So I spoke, and I was no longer quiet.

23 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 24 “Son of man, those who live in the ruined cities in Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one person, and he was given the land. But we are many. Certainly the land has been given to us.’ 25 So tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it. You look to your idols for help. You murder people. Should the land be given to you? 26 You rely on your swords. You do disgusting things. You dishonor your neighbor’s wife. Should the land be given to you?’

27 “Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: As I live, whoever is in the ruined cities will be killed in battle. Whoever is in the open field will become food for wild animals. Whoever is in fortified places and caves will die from plagues. 28 I will turn the land into a barren wasteland. People will no longer brag about its power. The mountains of Israel will become so ruined that no one will travel through them. 29 Then people will know that I am the Lord, when I make the land a barren wasteland because of all the disgusting things that they have done.’

30 “Son of man, your people are talking about you by the walls and in the doorways of their homes. They are saying to each other, ‘Let’s go and hear the word that has come from the Lord.’ 31 Then they come to you, as if they are still my people, and they sit down in front of you. They listen to what you say, but they don’t do it. They say that they love me, but in their hearts they chase dishonest profits. 32 To them you are nothing more than a singer with a beautiful voice who sings love songs or a musician who plays an instrument. They listen to your words, but they don’t do them. 33 When all your words come true—and they certainly will come true—these people will know that a prophet has been among them.”

The Promise of a New Shepherd for the Lord’s Sheep

34 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy to these shepherds. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: How horrible it will be for the shepherds of Israel who have been taking care of only themselves. Shouldn’t shepherds take care of the sheep? You eat the best parts of the sheep, dress in the wool, and butcher the finest sheep. Yet, you don’t take care of the sheep. You have not strengthened those that were weak, healed those that were sick, or bandaged those that were injured. You have not brought back those that strayed away or looked for those that were lost. You have ruled them harshly and violently. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd. When they were scattered, they became food for every wild animal. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered throughout the whole earth. No one searched or looked for them.

“‘So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord. As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, because there is no shepherd, my sheep have become prey. My sheep have become food for every wild animal. My shepherds haven’t searched for my sheep. They have taken care of only themselves, not my sheep. So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the Lord. 10 This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am against the shepherds. I will demand that they hand over my sheep. I won’t let them take care of my sheep anymore, and they will no longer take care of only themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, and my sheep will no longer be their food.

11 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I will search for my sheep myself, and I will look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them on a cloudy and gloomy day from every place where they have been scattered. 13 I will bring them out from the nations, gather them from the countries, and bring them to their own land. I will take care of them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and they will graze on the mountains of Israel. They will rest on the good land where they graze, and they will feed on the best pastures in the mountains of Israel. 15 I will take care of my sheep and lead them to rest, declares the Almighty Lord. 16 I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that have strayed away, bandage those that are injured, and strengthen those that are sick. I will destroy those that are fat and strong. I will take care of my sheep fairly.

17 “‘As for you, my sheep, this is what the Almighty Lord says: I will judge disputes between one sheep and another, between rams and male goats. 18 Isn’t it enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you trample the rest of the pasture with your feet? You drink clean water. Must you muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 Must my sheep eat what your feet have trampled and drink what your feet have muddied?

20 “‘So this is what the Almighty Lord says to them: I will judge disputes between the fat sheep and the skinny sheep. 21 You fat sheep push the skinny sheep with your sides and shoulders, and you knock down all the sick sheep with your horns. You have scattered them all over. 22 So I will rescue my sheep, and they will no longer be prey. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 Then I will place one shepherd over them, my servant David, and he will take care of them. He will take care of them and be their shepherd. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be their prince. I, the Lord, have spoken.

25 “‘I will promise them peace. I will remove the wild animals from the land so that my sheep can live safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will bless them and the places around my hill. I will send rain at the right time. These showers will be a blessing to them. 27 Then the trees in the field will produce fruit, the land will yield crops, and my sheep will live safely in their land. Then they will know that I am the Lord, because I will break off the bars on their yokes[a] and rescue them from the people who made them slaves. 28 They will no longer be prey to the nations, and the wild animals will no longer eat them. They will live safely, and no one will frighten them. 29 I will give them a place that is known for its good crops. They will no longer experience hunger in the land, and they will no longer suffer the insults of other nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the people of Israel, are my people, declares the Almighty Lord. 31 You, my sheep, are the sheep in my pasture. You are mortal, and I am your God, declares the Almighty Lord.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 34:27 A yoke is a wooden bar placed over the necks of work animals so that they can pull plows or carts.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Hebrews 13

13 Continue to love each other. Don’t forget to show hospitality to believers you don’t know. By doing this some believers have shown hospitality to angels without being aware of it. Remember those in prison as if you were in prison with them. Remember those who are mistreated as if you were being mistreated.

Marriage is honorable in every way, so husbands and wives should be faithful to each other. God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

Don’t love money. Be happy with what you have because God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper.
    I will not be afraid.
        What can mortals do to me?”

Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. Think about how their lives turned out, and imitate their faith.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Don’t get carried away by all kinds of unfamiliar teachings. Gaining inner strength from God’s kindness[a] is good for us. This strength does not come from following rules about food, rules that don’t help those who follow them. 10 Those who serve at the tent have no right to eat what is sacrificed at our altar.

11 The chief priest brings the blood of animals into the holy place as an offering for sin. But the bodies of those animals were burned outside the Israelite camp. 12 That is why Jesus suffered outside the gates of Jerusalem. He suffered to make the people holy with his own blood. 13 So we must go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured. 14 We don’t have a permanent city here on earth, but we are looking for the city that we will have in the future. 15 Through Jesus we should always bring God a sacrifice of praise, that is, words that acknowledge him. 16 Don’t forget to do good things for others and to share what you have with them. These are the kinds of sacrifices that please God.

17 Obey your leaders, and accept their authority. They take care of you because they are responsible for you. Obey them so that they may do this work joyfully and not complain about you. (Causing them to complain would not be to your advantage.)

18 Pray for us. We are sure that our consciences are clear because we want to live honorably in every way. 19 I especially ask for your prayers so that I may come back to you soon.

20 The God of peace brought the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, back to life through the blood of an eternal promise.[b] 21 May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing he wants. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Farewell

22 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to listen patiently to my encouraging words. I have written you a short letter. 23 You know that Timothy, our brother, has been freed. If he comes here soon, both of us will visit you.

24 Greet all your leaders and all God’s holy people. Those who are with us from Italy greet you.

25 May God’s good will[c] be with all of you!

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 13:9 Or “grace.”
  2. Hebrews 13:20 Or “covenant.”
  3. Hebrews 13:25 Or “grace.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Psalm 115

Psalm 115

Don’t give glory to us, O Lord.
    Don’t give glory to us.
    Instead, give glory to your name
        because of your mercy and faithfulness.
Why should other nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven.
    He does whatever he wants.
Their idols are made of silver and gold.
    They were made by human hands.[a]
        They have mouths, but they cannot speak.
        They have eyes, but they cannot see.
        They have ears, but they cannot hear.
        They have noses, but they cannot smell.
        They have hands, but they cannot feel.
        They have feet, but they cannot walk.
        They cannot even make a sound with their throats.
            Those who make idols end up like them.
                So does everyone who trusts them.

Israel, trust the Lord.
    He is your helper and your shield.
10 Descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord.
    He is your helper and your shield.
11 If you fear the Lord, trust the Lord.
    He is your helper and your shield.

12 The Lord, who is always thinking about us, will bless us.
    He will bless the descendants of Israel.
    He will bless the descendants of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
    from the least important to the most important.
14 May the Lord continue to bless you and your children.
15 You will be blessed by the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
16 The highest heaven belongs to the Lord,
    but he has given the earth to the descendants of Adam.
17 Those who are dead do not praise the Lord,
    nor do those who go into the silence of the grave.
18 But we will thank the Lord now and forever.

Hallelujah!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 115:4 Verses 4–8 are virtually identical in wording to Psalm 135:15–18.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Proverbs 27:21-22

21 The crucible is for refining silver and the smelter for gold,
    but a person is tested by the praise given to him.
22 If you crush a stubborn fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain,[a]
    even then his stupidity will not leave him.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 27:22 Hebrew meaning uncertain.
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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