Daily reading for Sunday, November 17, 2013
Today's audio is from the HCSB. Switch to the HCSB to read along with the audio.
Ezekiel 35:1-36:38; James 1:1-18; Psalms 116:1-19; Proverbs 27:23-27 (New English Translation)
Prophecy Against Mount Seir
35 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, turn toward Mount Seir, and prophesy against it. 3 Say to it, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:
“‘Look, I am against you, Mount Seir;
I will stretch out my hand against you
and turn you into a desolate ruin.
4 I will lay waste your cities;
and you will become desolate.
Then you will know that I am the Lord!
5 “‘You have shown unrelenting hostility and poured the people of Israel onto the blades of a sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment. 6 Therefore, as surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, I will subject you to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. 7 I will turn Mount Seir into a desolate ruin; I will cut off from it the one who passes through or returns. 8 I will fill its mountains with its dead; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines, those killed by the sword will fall. 9 I will turn you into a perpetual desolation, and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
10 “‘You said, “These two nations, these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them,”—although the Lord was there— 11 therefore, as surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, I will deal with you according to your anger, and according to your envy, by which you acted spitefully against them. I will reveal myself to them when I judge you. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard all the insults you spoke against the mountains of Israel, saying, “They are desolate, they have been given to us for food.” 13 You exalted yourselves against me with your speech and hurled many insults against me—I have heard them all! 14 This is what the sovereign Lord says: While the whole earth rejoices, I will turn you into a desolation. 15 As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so will I deal with you—you will be desolate, Mount Seir, and all of Edom—all of it! Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”
Blessings on the Mountains of Israel
36 “As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say: ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! 2 This is what the sovereign Lord says: The enemy has spoken against you, saying “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights have become our property!”’ 3 So prophesy and say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely because they have made you desolate and crushed you from all directions, so that you have become the property of the rest of the nations, and have become the subject of gossip and slander among the people, 4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the sovereign Lord: This is what the sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, and to the desolate ruins and the abandoned cities that have become prey and an object of derision to the rest of the nations round about— 5 therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Surely I have spoken in the fire of my zeal against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who with great joy and utter contempt have made my land their property and prey, because of its pasture.’
6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I have spoken in my zeal and in my anger, because you have endured the insults of the nations. 7 So this is what the sovereign Lord says: I vow that the nations around you will endure insults as well.
8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will grow your branches, and bear your fruit for my people Israel; for they will arrive soon. 9 For indeed, I am on your side; I will turn to you, and you will be plowed and planted. 10 I will multiply your people—the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be populated and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of people and animals on you; they will increase and be fruitful. I will cause you to be inhabited as in ancient times, and will do more good for you than at the beginning of your history. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will lead people, my people Israel, across you; they will possess you and you will become their inheritance. No longer will you bereave them of their children.
13 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Because they are saying to you, “You are a devourer of men, and bereave your nation of children,” 14 therefore you will no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the sovereign Lord. 15 I will no longer subject you to the nations’ insults; no longer will you bear the shame of the peoples, and no longer will you bereave your nation, declares the sovereign Lord.’”
16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their behavior and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the uncleanness of a woman having her monthly period. 18 So I poured my anger on them because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations; they were dispersed throughout foreign countries. In accordance with their behavior and their deeds I judged them. 20 But when they arrived in the nations where they went, they profaned my holy name. It was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, yet they have departed from his land.’ 21 I was concerned for my holy reputation which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will magnify my great name that has been profaned among the nations, that you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the sovereign Lord, when I magnify myself among you in their sight.
24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 25 I will sprinkle you with pure water and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds which were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. 32 Understand that it is not for your sake I am about to act, declares the sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, O house of Israel.
33 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: In the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will populate the cities and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be plowed, instead of being desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations which remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken—and I will do it!’
37 “This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will allow the house of Israel to ask me to do this for them: I will multiply their people like sheep. 38 Like the sheep for offerings, like the sheep of Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
1 From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings!
Joy in Trials
2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.
9 Now the believer of humble means should take pride in his high position. 10 But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow. 11 For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever. So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away. 12 Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. 18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
1 I love the Lord
because he heard my plea for mercy,
2 and listened to me.
As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help.
3 The ropes of death tightened around me,
the snares of Sheol confronted me.
I was confronted with trouble and sorrow.
4 I called on the name of the Lord,
“Please Lord, rescue my life!”
5 The Lord is merciful and fair;
our God is compassionate.
6 The Lord protects the untrained;
I was in serious trouble and he delivered me.
7 Rest once more, my soul,
for the Lord has vindicated you.
8 Yes, Lord, you rescued my life from death,
and kept my feet from stumbling.
9 I will serve the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I had faith when I said,
“I am severely oppressed.”
11 I rashly declared,
“All men are liars.”
12 How can I repay the Lord
for all his acts of kindness to me?
13 I will celebrate my deliverance,
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
before all his people.
15 The Lord values
the lives of his faithful followers.
16 Yes, Lord! I am indeed your servant;
I am your lowest slave.
You saved me from death.
17 I will present a thank offering to you,
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
before all his people,
19 in the courts of the Lord’s temple,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
23 Pay careful attention to the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever,
nor does a crown last from generation to generation.
25 When the hay is removed and new grass appears,
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will be for your clothing,
and the goats will be for the price of a field.
27 And there will be enough goat’s milk for your food,
for the food of your household,
and for the sustenance of your servant girls.