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 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Ezekiel 37-38

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and He brought me out by His Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I replied, “Lord God, only You know.”

He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,[a] prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me; the breath[b] entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, My people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am Yahweh, My people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it.” This is the declaration of the Lord.

The Reunification of Israel

15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph—the stick of Ephraim—and all the house of Israel associated with him. 17 Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to us what you mean by these things?’ 19 tell them: This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in My hand.

20 “When the sticks you have written on are in your hand and in full view of the people, 21 tell them: This is what the Lord God says: I am going to take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, their detestable things, and all their transgressions. I will save them from all their apostasies by which[c] they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances, and keep My statutes and obey them.

25 “They will live in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live in it forever with their children and grandchildren, and My servant David will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.”

The Defeat of Gog

38 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, turn your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of[d] Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him and say: This is what the Lord God says: Look, I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, including horses and riders, who are all splendidly dressed, a huge company armed with shields and bucklers, all of them brandishing swords. Persia,Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets; Gomer with all its troops; and Beth-togarmah from the remotest parts of the north along with all its troops—many peoples are with you.

“Be prepared and get yourself ready, you and all your company who have been mobilized around you; you will be their guard. After a long time you will be summoned. In the last years you will enter a land that has been restored from war[e] and regathered from many peoples to the mountains of Israel, which had long been a ruin. They were brought out from the peoples, and all of them now live securely. You, all of your troops, and many peoples with you will advance, coming like a thunderstorm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.

10 “This is what the Lord God says: On that day, thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. 11 You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of open villages; I will come against a tranquil people who are living securely, all of them living without walls and without bars or gates 12 in order to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against ruins now inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations, who have been acquiring cattle and possessions and who live at the center of the world.’ 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its rulers[f] will ask you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hordes to carry off plunder, to make off with silver and gold, to take cattle and possessions, to seize great spoil?’

14 “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog: This is what the Lord God says: On that day when My people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know this 15 and come from your place in the remotest parts of the north—you and many peoples with you, who are all riding horses—a mighty horde, a huge army? 16 You will advance against My people Israel like a cloud covering the land. It will happen in the last days, Gog, that I will bring you against My land so that the nations may know Me, when I show Myself holy through you in their sight.

17 “This is what the Lord God says: Are you the one I spoke about in former times through My servants, the prophets of Israel, who for years prophesied in those times that I would bring you against them? 18 Now on that day, the day when Gog comes against the land of Israel”—this is the declaration of the Lord God—“My wrath will flare up.[g] 19 I swear in My zeal and fiery rage: On that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals of the field, every creature that crawls on the ground, and every human being on the face of the earth will tremble before Me. The mountains will be thrown down, the cliffs will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains”—the declaration of the Lord God—“and every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed. I will pour out torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone on him, as well as his troops and the many peoples who are with him. 23 I will display My greatness and holiness, and will reveal Myself in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 37:9 Or wind, or spirit
  2. Ezekiel 37:10 Or wind, or spirit
  3. Ezekiel 37:23 Some Hb mss, LXX, Sym; other Hb mss read their settlements where
  4. Ezekiel 38:2 Or the prince of Rosh,
  5. Ezekiel 38:8 Lit from the sword
  6. Ezekiel 38:13 Lit young lions, or villages
  7. Ezekiel 38:18 Lit up in My anger

James 1:19-2:17

Hearing and Doing the Word

19 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil,[a] humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.[b]

22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face[c] in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone[d] thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our[e] God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The Sin of Favoritism

My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism?

Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself,[f] you are doing well. But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery,[g] also said, Do not murder.[h] So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Works

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith[i] save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

Footnotes:

  1. James 1:21 Lit evil excess
  2. James 1:21 Lit save your souls
  3. James 1:23 Lit at the face of his birth
  4. James 1:26 Other mss add among you
  5. James 1:27 Or before the
  6. James 2:8 Lv 19:18
  7. James 2:11 Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
  8. James 2:11 Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17
  9. James 2:14 Or Can faith, or Can that faith, or Can such faith

Psalm 117

Psalm 117

Universal Call to Praise

Praise the Lord, all nations!
Glorify Him, all peoples!
For His faithful love to us is great;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Hallelujah!

Proverbs 28:1

28 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

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