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 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Ezekiel 33-34

Ezekiel as Israel’s Watchman

33 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands.[a] If he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. However, if the watchman sees the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.

“As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked one, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn’t turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.

10 “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel: You have said this, ‘Our transgressions and our sins are heavy on us, and we are wasting away because of them! How then can we survive?’ 11 Tell them: As I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?

12 “Now, son of man, say to your people: The righteousness of the righteous person will not save him on the day of his transgression; neither will the wickedness of the wicked person cause him to stumble on the day he turns from his wickedness. The righteous person won’t be able to survive by his righteousness on the day he sins. 13 When I tell the righteous person that he will surely live, but he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, then none of his righteousness will be remembered, and he will die because of the iniquity he has committed.

14 “So when I tell the wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but he repents of his sin and does what is just and right— 15 he returns collateral, makes restitution for what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without practicing iniquity—he will certainly live; he will not die. 16 None of the sins he committed will be held against him. He has done what is just and right; he will certainly live.

17 “But your people say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair,’ even though it is their own way that isn’t fair. 18 When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he will die on account of this. 19 But if a wicked person turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live because of this. 20 Yet you say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ I will judge each of you according to his ways, house of Israel.”

The News of Jerusalem’s Fall

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and reported, “The city has been taken!” 22 Now the hand of the Lord had been on me the evening before the fugitive arrived, and He opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer mute.

Israel’s Continued Rebellion

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, those who live in the[b] ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one person, yet he received possession of the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them: This is what the Lord God says: You eat meat with blood in it, raise your eyes to your idols, and shed blood. Should you then receive possession of the land? 26 You have relied on your swords, you have committed detestable acts, and each of you has defiled his neighbor’s wife. Should you then receive possession of the land?

27 “Tell them this: This is what the Lord God says: As surely as I live, those who are in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the open field I have given to wild animals to be devoured, and those in the strongholds and caves will die by plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and its proud strength will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will become desolate, with no one passing through. 29 They will know that I am Yahweh when I make the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable acts they have committed.

30 “Now, son of man, your people are talking about you near the city walls and in the doorways of their houses. One person speaks to another, each saying to his brother, ‘Come and hear what the message is that comes from the Lord!’ 31 So My people come to you in crowds,[c] sit in front of you, and hear your words, but they don’t obey them. Although they express love with their mouths, their hearts pursue dishonest profit. 32 Yes, to them you are like a singer of love songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument. They hear your words, but they don’t obey them. 33 Yet when it comes—and it will definitely come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

The Shepherds and God’s Flock

34 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them: This is what the Lord God says to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed their flock? You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock. You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered. My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. They were scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them.

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“because My flock has become prey and food for every wild animal since they lack a shepherd, for My shepherds do not search for My flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than My flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!

10 “This is what the Lord God says: Look, I am against the shepherds. I will demand My flock from them[d] and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue My flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them.

11 “For this is what the Lord God says: See, I Myself will search for My flock and look for them. 12 As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for My flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, and bring them into their own land. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 I will tend them with good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel’s lofty mountains. There they will lie down in a good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will tend My flock and let them lie down.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. 16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy[e] the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.

17 “The Lord God says to you, My flock: I am going to judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and male goats. 18 Isn’t it enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of the pasture with your feet? Or isn’t it enough that you drink the clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Yet My flock has to feed on what your feet have trampled, and drink what your feet have muddied.

20 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says to them: See, I Myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Since you have pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak ones with your horns until you scattered them all over, 22 I will save My flock, and they will no longer be prey for you. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd. 24 I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David will be a prince among them. I, Yahweh, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate dangerous animals in the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest. 26 I will make them and the area around My hill a blessing: I will send down showers in their season—showers[f] of blessing. 27 The trees of the field will give their fruit, and the land will yield its produce; My flock will be secure in their land. They will know that I am Yahweh when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslave them. 28 They will no longer be prey for the nations, and the wild animals of the land will not consume them. They will live securely, and no one will frighten them. 29 I will establish for them a place renowned for its agriculture,[g] and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land. They will no longer endure the insults of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, Yahweh their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. 31 “You are My flock, the human flock of My pasture, and I am your God.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 33:5 Lit on him
  2. Ezekiel 33:24 Lit these
  3. Ezekiel 33:31 Lit you like the coming of a people
  4. Ezekiel 34:10 Lit their hand
  5. Ezekiel 34:16 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg read watch over
  6. Ezekiel 34:26 Lit season; they will be showers
  7. Ezekiel 34:29 LXX, Syr read a plant of peace

Hebrews 13

Final Exhortations

13 Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily.[a] Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers. Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.[b] Therefore, we may boldly say:

The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?[c]

Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that He might sanctify[d] the people by His own blood. 13 Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace. 14 For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. 16 Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 17 Obey your leaders[e] and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything. 19 And I especially urge you to pray[f] that I may be restored to you very soon.

Benediction and Farewell

20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip[g] you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever.[h] Amen.

22 Brothers, I urge you to receive this message of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 Be aware that our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon enough, he will be with me when I see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who are from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with all of you.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 13:3 Or mistreated, since you are also in a body
  2. Hebrews 13:5 Dt 31:6
  3. Hebrews 13:6 Ps 118:6
  4. Hebrews 13:12 Or set apart, or consecrate
  5. Hebrews 13:17 Or rulers
  6. Hebrews 13:19 Lit to do this
  7. Hebrews 13:21 Or perfect
  8. Hebrews 13:21 Other mss omit and ever

Psalm 115

Psalm 115

Glory to God Alone

Not to us, Yahweh, not to us,
but to Your name give glory
because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
Those who make them are[a] just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

Israel,[b] trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us.
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron;
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord
small and great alike.

14 May the Lord add to your numbers,
both yours and your children’s.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
16 The heavens are the Lord’s,[c]
but the earth He has given to the human race.
17 It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
nor any of those descending into the silence of death.
18 But we will praise the Lord,
both now and forever.
Hallelujah!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 115:8 Or May those who make them become
  2. Psalm 115:9 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr read House of Israel
  3. Psalm 115:16 Lit Lord’s heavens

Proverbs 27:21-22

21 A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold,
and a man for the words of his praise.[a]

22 Though you grind a fool
in a mortar with a pestle along with grain,
you will not separate his foolishness from him.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 27:21 Or gold, but a man [is tested] by his praise
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