Daily reading for Monday, November 18, 2013

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Ezekiel 37:1-38:23; James 1:19-2:17; Psalms 117:1-2; Proverbs 28:1 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Ezekiel 37-38

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The power of the Lord came over me. The Lord brought me out by his Spirit and put me down in the middle of a valley. The valley was filled with bones. He led me all around them. I saw that there were very many bones at the bottom of the valley, and they were very dry.

Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I answered, “Only you know, Almighty Lord.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones. Tell them, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord. This is what the Almighty Lord says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put ligaments on you, place muscles on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. While I was prophesying, suddenly there was a rattling noise, and the bones came together, one bone attaching itself to another. As I looked, I saw that ligaments were on them, muscles were on them, and skin covered them. Yet, there was no breath in them.

Then the Lord said to me, “Prophesy to the breath![a] Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Come from the four winds, Breath, and breathe on these people who were killed so that they will live.’”

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them. Then they came to life and stood on their feet. There were enough of them to form a very large army.

11 The Lord also said to me, “Son of man, all the people of Israel are like these bones. The people say, ‘Our bones are dry, and our hope has vanished. We are completely destroyed.’ 12 So prophesy. Tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: My people, I will open your graves and take you out of them. I will bring you to Israel. 13 Then, my people, you will know that I am the Lord, because I will open your graves and bring you out of your graves. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

15 The Lord spoke his word to me again. He said, 16 “Son of man, take a stick and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the Israelites who are associated with it.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘The stick of Ephraim, for Joseph and for all the people of Israel associated with it.’ 17 Then join both sticks together so that they will be one in your hand. Your people will say to you, 18 ‘Tell us what you mean by this.’ 19 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I will take Joseph’s stick, which is in Ephraim’s hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with it, and I will put them with Judah’s stick. I will make them into one stick. They will be one in my hand.’ 20 When you hold the sticks in your hand, let the people see them.

21 “Then tell them, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they’ve gone. I will gather them from everywhere and bring them to their own land. 22 I will form them into one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule all of them. They will no longer be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer dishonor themselves with their idols, with their detestable things, or with their rebellious acts. I will forgive them for all the times they turned away from me and sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God.

24 “‘My servant David will be their king, and all of them will have one shepherd. They will live by my rules, and they will obey my laws. 25 They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They, their children, and their grandchildren will live in it permanently. My servant David will always be their prince. 26 I will promise them peace. This promise[b] will last forever. I will establish them, make them increase in number, and put my holy place among them permanently. 27 My dwelling place will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I, the Lord, have set Israel apart as holy, because my holy place will be among them permanently.’”

The Destruction of Gog and Its Army

38 The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, turn to Gog from the land of Magog. He is the chief prince of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Tell him, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws. I will lead you out with all your military forces, with horses and riders. Your soldiers will be fully armed. They will carry large and small shields and be able to use swords. Persia, Sudan, and Put will be with you. They, too, will have shields and helmets. Gomer will come with all its troops and with the nation of Togarmah from the far north. There will be many armies with you.

“‘Be prepared! Be prepared, you and all the soldiers assembled around you. You will be their leader. After a long time you will be called to service. In the years to come, you will attack a land that has been rebuilt after a war. Its people have been gathered from many nations and brought to the mountains of Israel, mountains that have been ruined for a long time. These people were brought there from the nations, and all of them live there safely. You will attack like a storm and cover the land like a cloud. Your troops and the many armies will be with you.

10 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: At that time ideas will enter your head, and you will make wicked plans. 11 You will say, “I’ll attack a land with unwalled villages. I will attack peaceful people who live safely. All of them live without walls, locks, or gates. 12 I will come to rob them and loot them. I will use my power against the ruins that people are living in again. I will use it against the people who were gathered from the nations. These people have cattle and property, and they live in the world.”

13 “‘Sheba, Dedan, the merchants from Tarshish, and all their villages will ask you, “Did you come to rob these people of their possessions? Did you assemble all these soldiers to carry away large amounts of silver and gold and to take cattle and property?”’

14 “So prophesy, son of man. Tell Gog, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: At that time my people Israel will live safely, and you will know it. 15 You will come from your place in the far north and many armies will be with you. All of you will ride on horses. You will be a large crowd and a mighty army. 16 You will attack my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In the days to come, I will let you attack my land so that nations will know me. I will use you for my holy purpose as they watch.

17 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: You are the one I spoke about long ago through my servants the prophets of Israel. They prophesied in those days that I would bring you to attack them. 18 On the day that Gog attacks the land of Israel, I will be filled with burning anger, declares the Almighty Lord. 19 In my fiery anger I tell you this. On that day there will be a large earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 Fish, birds, wild animals, everything that crawls on the ground, and every person on earth will tremble in my presence. The mountains will be torn down, the cliffs will crumble, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will declare war against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Almighty Lord. Each person will use his sword against his relative. 22 I will punish Gog with plagues and death. I will send rainstorms, large hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur on his troops and on the many armies with him. 23 I will show my greatness and my holiness. I will reveal myself to many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 37:9 Or “Spirit.”
  2. Ezekiel 37:26 Or “covenant.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

James 1:19-2:17

19 Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily. 20 An angry person doesn’t do what God approves of. 21 So get rid of all immoral behavior and all the wicked things you do. Humbly accept the word that God has placed in you. This word can save you.

22 Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. 23 If someone listens to God’s word but doesn’t do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, 24 studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 However, the person who continues to study God’s perfect laws that make people free and who remains committed to them will be blessed. People like that don’t merely listen and forget; they actually do what God’s laws say.

26 If a person thinks that he is religious but can’t control his tongue, he is fooling himself. That person’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.

Don’t Favor Rich People over Poor People

My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, “Please have a seat.” But you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor at my feet.” Aren’t you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Didn’t God choose poor people in the world to become rich in faith and to receive the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? Yet, you show no respect to poor people. Don’t rich people oppress you and drag you into court? Don’t they curse the good name of Jesus, the name that was used to bless you?

You are doing right if you obey this law from the highest authority: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you favor one person over another, you’re sinning, and this law convicts you of being disobedient. 10 If someone obeys all of God’s laws except one, that person is guilty of breaking all of them. 11 After all, the one who said, “Never commit adultery,” is the same one who said, “Never murder.” If you do not commit adultery but you murder, you become a person who disobeys God’s laws.

12 Talk and act as people who are going to be judged by laws that bring freedom. 13 No mercy will be shown to those who show no mercy to others. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

We Show Our Faith by What We Do

14 My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn’t do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him? 15 Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food 16 and one of you tells that person, “God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough.” If you don’t provide for that person’s physical needs, what good does it do? 17 In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn’t cause you to do any good things.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Psalm 117

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all you nations!
    Praise him, all you people of the world!
His mercy toward us is powerful.
    The Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.

Hallelujah!

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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

Proverbs 28:1

28 A wicked person flees when no one is chasing him,
    but righteous people are as bold as lions.

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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