Daily reading for Sunday, November 17, 2013

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Ezekiel 35:1-36:38; James 1:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Proverbs 27:23-27 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 35-36

Judgment on Edom

35 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, turn to Mount Seir, and prophesy against it. Tell it, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says:

I’m against you, Mount Seir.
    I will use my power against you,
        and you will become a wasteland.
I will turn your cities into ruins,
    and you will become a wasteland.
        Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“‘You have always been an enemy of Israel.
    You deserted the people of Israel in battle
        when they were in trouble during their final punishment.
That is why, as I live, declares the Almighty Lord,
    I will let you be murdered.
        Murderers will pursue you.
    Since you don’t hate murdering people, murder will pursue you.
I will turn Mount Seir into a barren wasteland,
    and I will destroy everyone who comes or goes from there.
I will fill your mountains with those who have been killed.
    Those killed in battle will fall on your hills
        and in your valleys and ravines.
I will turn you into a permanent wasteland.
    Your cities will not be lived in.
        Then you will know that I am the Lord.

10 “‘You said, “These two nations, Israel and Judah, along with their land, belong to us. We will take possession of them.” But the Lord was there. 11 That is why, as I live, declares the Almighty Lord, I will do to you what you did to them. When you were angry and jealous, you acted hatefully toward them. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, heard all the insults that you spoke about the mountains of Israel. You said, “They have been deserted and handed over to us to use up.” 13 You bragged and continually talked against me. I heard you.

14 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: The whole earth will be glad when I turn you into a wasteland. 15 You were happy when the land of Israel became a wasteland. I will do the same thing to you. You will become a wasteland, Mount Seir, and so will all of Edom. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Blessings for the Mountains of Israel

36 The Lord said, “Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Tell them, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord. This is what the Almighty Lord says: Your enemies said this about you, “Aha! The ancient worship sites now belong to us.”’

“So prophesy. Say, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Your enemies turned you into ruins and crushed you from every side. You became the possession of the rest of the nations, and people began to talk and gossip about you.

“‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Almighty Lord. This is what the Almighty Lord says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, and to the empty ruins and abandoned cities that have become prey and are mocked by the rest of the surrounding nations: In my fiery anger I have spoken against the rest of the nations and against all of Edom. The Edomites have taken possession of my land with wholehearted joy and with complete scorn. They forced out the people and took their land.’

“So prophesy about Israel. Tell the mountains and hills and the ravines and valleys, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am speaking in my anger and fury because you have been insulted by the nations. So this is what the Almighty Lord says: I raise my hand and swear that the nations which surround you will be insulted.

“‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow branches and bear fruit for my people Israel. My people will come home soon. I am for you. I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted. 10 I will increase the number of people who live on you. All the people of Israel, all of them, will live on you. The cities will be inhabited, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of people and animals that live on you. They will grow and become many. I will let people live on you as in the past, and I will make you better off than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will bring people, my people Israel, to you. They will take possession of you, and you will be their inheritance. You will no longer take their children away from them.

13 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: People say that you devour your people and take the children away from your nation. 14 So you will no longer devour your people or take the children away from your nation, declares the Almighty Lord. 15 I will no longer let you hear the insults from the nations. You will no longer suffer the disgrace of the people. You will never again take the children away from your own nation, declares the Almighty Lord.’”

16 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel lived in their land, they dishonored it by the way they lived and by everything they did. Their ways were as unclean[a] as a woman’s menstrual period. 18 So I poured out my fury on them because they poured out blood on the land and they dishonored the land with their idols. 19 I forced them into other nations, and they became scattered among the nations. I judged them based on the way that they lived and based on everything that they had done. 20 But wherever they went among the nations, they dishonored my holy name. People said about them, ‘These are the Lord’s people, yet they had to leave his land.’ 21 I became concerned about my holy name because my people dishonored it among the nations wherever they went.

22 “So tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am about to do something, people of Israel. I will not do this for your sake but for the sake of my holy name, which you have dishonored among the nations wherever you have gone. 23 I will reveal the holiness of my great name, which has been dishonored by the nations, the name that you have dishonored among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, because I will reveal my holiness among you as they watch, declares the Almighty Lord.

24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from every country. I will bring you back to your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean[b] instead of unclean. Then I will cleanse you from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts. 27 I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules. 28 Then you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will rescue you from all your uncleanness. I will make the grain grow so that you will never again have famines. 30 I will make fruit grow on the trees and crops grow in the fields so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famines. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and the bad things that you did, and you will hate yourselves for all these wicked and disgusting things. 32 I want you to know that I’m not doing this for your sake, declares the Almighty Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced because of your ways, people of Israel.

33 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: On the day that I cleanse you from all your wickedness, I will cause your cities to be lived in again, and your ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The wasteland will be plowed. It will no longer remain empty for everyone passing by to see. 35 People will say, “This wasteland has become like the garden of Eden. The cities were destroyed. They were empty and ruined, but now they are fortified and have people living in them.” 36 The surrounding nations that are left will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted crops in the land that was empty. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’

37 “This is what the Almighty Lord says: I will also let the people of Israel ask me to make them as numerous as sheep. 38 They will be like the sheep for sacrifices, like the sheep in Jerusalem during the appointed festivals. Their ruined cities will be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 36:17 “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
  2. Ezekiel 36:25 “Clean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is presentable to God.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

James 1:1-18

Greeting

From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To God’s faithful people[a] who have been scattered.

Greetings.

When You Are Tested, Turn to God

My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways. You know that such testing of your faith produces endurance. Endure until your testing is over. Then you will be mature and complete, and you won’t need anything.

If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them. When you ask for something, don’t have any doubts. A person who has doubts is like a wave that is blown by the wind and tossed by the sea. A person who has doubts shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.

Humble believers should be proud because being humble makes them important. 10 Rich believers should be proud because being rich should make them humble. Rich people will wither like flowers. 11 The sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up plants. The flowers drop off, and the beauty is gone. The same thing will happen to rich people. While they are busy, they will die.

12 Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 When someone is tempted, he shouldn’t say that God is tempting him. God can’t be tempted by evil, and God doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. 15 Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.

16 My dear brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled. 17 Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon.

18 God decided to give us life through the word of truth to make us his most important creatures.

Footnotes:

  1. James 1:1 Or “to the twelve tribes.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Psalm 116

Psalm 116

I love the Lord because he hears my voice, my pleas for mercy.
I will call on him as long as I live
    because he turns his ear toward me.
The ropes of death became tangled around me.
    The horrors of the grave took hold of me.
        I experienced pain and agony.
But I kept calling on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, rescue me!”

The Lord is merciful and righteous.
    Our God is compassionate.
The Lord protects defenseless people.
    When I was weak, he saved me.
Be at peace again, my soul,
    because the Lord has been good to you.

You saved me from death.
    You saved my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the Lord’s presence in this world of the living.
10 I kept my faith even when I said,
    “I am suffering terribly.”
11 I also said when I was panic-stricken,
    “Everyone is undependable.”
12 How can I repay the Lord
    for all the good that he has done for me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will keep my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Lord, I am indeed your servant.
    I am your servant,
        the son of your female servant.
    You have freed me from my chains.
17 I will bring a song of thanksgiving to you as a sacrifice.
    I will call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will keep my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courtyards of the Lord’s house,
    in the middle of Jerusalem.

Hallelujah!

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Proverbs 27:23-27

23 Be fully aware of the condition of your flock,
    and pay close attention to your herds.
24 Wealth is not forever.
    Nor does a crown last from one generation to the next.

25 When grass is cut short, the tender growth appears,
    and vegetables are gathered on the hills.
26 Lambs will provide you with clothing,
    and the money from the male goats will buy a field.
27 There will be enough goat milk to feed you,
    to feed your family,
        and to keep your servant girls alive.

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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