Daily reading for Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Ezekiel 39:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Psalms 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2 (New Living Translation)

Ezekiel 39-40:27

The Slaughter of Gog’s Hordes

39 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

“In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it.

“Then the people in the towns of Israel will go out and pick up your small and large shields, bows and arrows, javelins and spears, and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! 10 They won’t need to cut wood from the fields or forests, for these weapons will give them all the fuel they need. They will plunder those who planned to plunder them, and they will rob those who planned to rob them, says the Sovereign Lord.

11 “And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea.[a] It will block the way of those who travel there, and they will change the name of the place to the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 12 It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land. 13 Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord.

14 “After seven months, teams of men will be appointed to search the land for skeletons to bury, so the land will be made clean again. 15 Whenever bones are found, a marker will be set up so the burial crews will take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 16 (There will be a town there named Hamonah, which means ‘horde.’) And so the land will finally be cleansed.

17 “And now, son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Call all the birds and wild animals. Say to them: Gather together for my great sacrificial feast. Come from far and near to the mountains of Israel, and there eat flesh and drink blood! 18 Eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls—all fattened animals from Bashan! 19 Gorge yourselves with flesh until you are glutted; drink blood until you are drunk. This is the sacrificial feast I have prepared for you. 20 Feast at my banquet table—feast on horses and charioteers, on mighty men and all kinds of valiant warriors, says the Sovereign Lord.

21 “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. 22 And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. 23 The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them. 24 I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins.

Restoration for God’s People

25 “So now, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will end the captivity of my people[b]; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealously guard my holy reputation! 26 They will accept responsibility for[c] their past shame and unfaithfulness after they come home to live in peace in their own land, with no one to bother them. 27 When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. 28 Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. 29 And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

The New Temple Area

40 On April 28,[d] during the twenty-fifth year of our captivity—fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem—the Lord took hold of me. In a vision from God he took me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain. From there I could see toward the south what appeared to be a city. As he brought me nearer, I saw a man whose face shone like bronze standing beside a gateway entrance. He was holding in his hand a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod.

He said to me, “Son of man, watch and listen. Pay close attention to everything I show you. You have been brought here so I can show you many things. Then you will return to the people of Israel and tell them everything you have seen.”

The East Gateway

I could see a wall completely surrounding the Temple area. The man took a measuring rod that was 10 1⁄2 feet[e] long and measured the wall, and the wall was 10 1⁄2 feet[f] thick and 10 1⁄2 feet high.

Then he went over to the eastern gateway. He climbed the steps and measured the threshold of the gateway; it was 10 1⁄2 feet front to back.[g] There were guard alcoves on each side built into the gateway passage. Each of these alcoves was 10 1⁄2 feet square, with a distance between them of 8 3⁄4 feet[h] along the passage wall. The gateway’s inner threshold, which led to the entry room at the inner end of the gateway passage, was 10 1⁄2 feet front to back. He also measured the entry room of the gateway.[i] It was 14 feet[j] across, with supporting columns 3 1⁄2 feet[k] thick. This entry room was at the inner end of the gateway structure, facing toward the Temple.

10 There were three guard alcoves on each side of the gateway passage. Each had the same measurements, and the dividing walls separating them were also identical. 11 The man measured the gateway entrance, which was 17 1⁄2 feet[l] wide at the opening and 22 3⁄4 feet[m] wide in the gateway passage. 12 In front of each of the guard alcoves was a 21-inch[n] curb. The alcoves themselves were 10 1⁄2 feet[o] on each side.

13 Then he measured the entire width of the gateway, measuring the distance between the back walls of facing guard alcoves; this distance was 43 3⁄4 feet.[p] 14 He measured the dividing walls all along the inside of the gateway up to the entry room of the gateway; this distance was 105 feet.[q] 15 The full length of the gateway passage was 87 1⁄2 feet[r] from one end to the other. 16 There were recessed windows that narrowed inward through the walls of the guard alcoves and their dividing walls. There were also windows in the entry room. The surfaces of the dividing walls were decorated with carved palm trees.

The Outer Courtyard

17 Then the man brought me through the gateway into the outer courtyard of the Temple. A stone pavement ran along the walls of the courtyard, and thirty rooms were built against the walls, opening onto the pavement. 18 This pavement flanked the gates and extended out from the walls into the courtyard the same distance as the gateway entrance. This was the lower pavement. 19 Then the man measured across the Temple’s outer courtyard between the outer and inner gateways; the distance was 175 feet.[s]

The North Gateway

20 The man measured the gateway on the north just like the one on the east. 21 Here, too, there were three guard alcoves on each side, with dividing walls and an entry room. All the measurements matched those of the east gateway. The gateway passage was 87 1⁄2 feet long and 43 3⁄4 feet wide between the back walls of facing guard alcoves. 22 The windows, the entry room, and the palm tree decorations were identical to those in the east gateway. There were seven steps leading up to the gateway entrance, and the entry room was at the inner end of the gateway passage. 23 Here on the north side, just as on the east, there was another gateway leading to the Temple’s inner courtyard directly opposite this outer gateway. The distance between the two gateways was 175 feet.

The South Gateway

24 Then the man took me around to the south gateway and measured its various parts, and they were exactly the same as in the others. 25 It had windows along the walls as the others did, and there was an entry room where the gateway passage opened into the outer courtyard. And like the others, the gateway passage was 87 1⁄2 feet long and 43 3⁄4 feet wide between the back walls of facing guard alcoves. 26 This gateway also had a stairway of seven steps leading up to it, and an entry room at the inner end, and palm tree decorations along the dividing walls. 27 And here again, directly opposite the outer gateway, was another gateway that led into the inner courtyard. The distance between the two gateways was 175 feet.

Footnotes:

  1. 39:11 Hebrew the sea.
  2. 39:25 Hebrew of Jacob.
  3. 39:26 A few Hebrew manuscripts read They will forget.
  4. 40:1 Hebrew At the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on April 28, 573 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  5. 40:5a Hebrew 6 long cubits [3.2 meters], each being a cubit [18 inches or 45 centimeters] and a handbreadth [3 inches or 8 centimeters] in length.
  6. 40:5b Hebrew 1 rod [3.2 meters]; also in 40:5c, 7.
  7. 40:6 As in Greek version, which reads 1 rod [3.2 meters] deep; Hebrew reads 1 rod deep, and 1 threshold, 1 rod deep.
  8. 40:7 Hebrew 5 cubits [2.7 meters]; also in 40:48.
  9. 40:8 Many Hebrew manuscripts add which faced inward toward the Temple; it was 1 rod [10.5 feet or 3.2 meters] deep. Then he measured the entry room of the gateway.
  10. 40:9a Hebrew 8 cubits [4.2 meters].
  11. 40:9b Hebrew 2 cubits [1.1 meters].
  12. 40:11a Hebrew 10 cubits [5.3 meters].
  13. 40:11b Hebrew 13 cubits [6.9 meters].
  14. 40:12a Hebrew 1 cubit [53 centimeters].
  15. 40:12b Hebrew 6 cubits [3.2 meters].
  16. 40:13 Hebrew 25 cubits [13.3 meters]; also in 40:21, 25, 29, 30, 33, 36.
  17. 40:14 Hebrew 60 cubits [31.8 meters]. Greek version reads 20 cubits [35 feet or 10.6 meters]. The meaning of the Hebrew in this verse is uncertain.
  18. 40:15 Hebrew 50 cubits [26.5 meters]; also in 40:21, 25, 29, 33, 36.
  19. 40:19 Hebrew 100 cubits [53 meters]; also in 40:23, 27, 47.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


James 2:18-3:18

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[a] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[b] He was even called the friend of God.[c] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[d] so also faith is dead without good works.

Controlling the Tongue

Dear brothers and sisters,[e] not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.[f]

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.[g]

True Wisdom Comes from God

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.[h]

Footnotes:

  1. 2:19 Some manuscripts read that God is one; see Deut 6:4.
  2. 2:23a Gen 15:6.
  3. 2:23b See Isa 41:8.
  4. 2:26 Or without spirit.
  5. 3:1 Greek brothers; also in 3:10.
  6. 3:6 Or for it will burn in hell (Greek Gehenna).
  7. 3:12 Greek from salt.
  8. 3:18 Or of good things, or of justice.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Psalm 118:1-18

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Let all Israel repeat:
    “His faithful love endures forever.”
Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat:
    “His faithful love endures forever.”
Let all who fear the Lord repeat:
    “His faithful love endures forever.”

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
    and the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.
    I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in people.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

10 Though hostile nations surrounded me,
    I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
11 Yes, they surrounded and attacked me,
    but I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
12 They swarmed around me like bees;
    they blazed against me like a crackling fire.
    But I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
13 My enemies did their best to kill me,
    but the Lord rescued me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has given me victory.
15 Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.
    The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!
16 The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph.
    The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!
17 I will not die; instead, I will live
    to tell what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
    but he did not let me die.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 28:2

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
    But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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