Daily reading for Thursday, November 21, 2013

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Ezekiel 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalms 119:1-16; Proverbs 28:6-7 (New Living Translation)

Ezekiel 42-43

Rooms for the Priests

42 Then the man led me out of the Temple courtyard by way of the north gateway. We entered the outer courtyard and came to a group of rooms against the north wall of the inner courtyard. This structure, whose entrance opened toward the north, was 175 feet[a] long and 87 1⁄2 feet[b] wide. One block of rooms overlooked the 35-foot[c] width of the inner courtyard. Another block of rooms looked out onto the pavement of the outer courtyard. The two blocks were built three levels high and stood across from each other. Between the two blocks of rooms ran a walkway 17 1⁄2 feet[d] wide. It extended the entire 175 feet of the complex,[e] and all the doors faced north. Each of the two upper levels of rooms was narrower than the one beneath it because the upper levels had to allow space for walkways in front of them. Since there were three levels and they did not have supporting columns as in the courtyards, each of the upper levels was set back from the level beneath it. There was an outer wall that separated the rooms from the outer courtyard; it was 87 1⁄2 feet long. This wall added length to the outer block of rooms, which extended for only 87 1⁄2 feet, while the inner block—the rooms toward the Temple—extended for 175 feet. There was an eastern entrance from the outer courtyard to these rooms.

10 On the south[f] side of the Temple there were two blocks of rooms just south of the inner courtyard between the Temple and the outer courtyard. These rooms were arranged just like the rooms on the north. 11 There was a walkway between the two blocks of rooms just like the complex on the north side of the Temple. This complex of rooms was the same length and width as the other one, and it had the same entrances and doors. The dimensions of each were identical. 12 So there was an entrance in the wall facing the doors of the inner block of rooms, and another on the east at the end of the interior walkway.

13 Then the man told me, “These rooms that overlook the Temple from the north and south are holy. Here the priests who offer sacrifices to the Lord will eat the most holy offerings. And because these rooms are holy, they will be used to store the sacred offerings—the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. 14 When the priests leave the sanctuary, they must not go directly to the outer courtyard. They must first take off the clothes they wore while ministering, because these clothes are holy. They must put on other clothes before entering the parts of the building complex open to the public.”

15 When the man had finished measuring the inside of the Temple area, he led me out through the east gateway to measure the entire perimeter. 16 He measured the east side with his measuring rod, and it was 875 feet long.[g] 17 Then he measured the north side, and it was also 875 feet. 18 The south side was also 875 feet, 19 and the west side was also 875 feet. 20 So the area was 875 feet on each side with a wall all around it to separate what was holy from what was common.

The Lord’s Glory Returns

43 After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway.

Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died. They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger. Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.

10 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, 11 and they will be ashamed[h] of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple—including its entrances and exits—and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. 12 And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.

The Altar

13 “These are the measurements of the altar[i]: There is a gutter all around the altar 21 inches deep and 21 inches wide,[j] with a curb 9 inches[k] wide around its edge. And this is the height[l] of the altar: 14 From the gutter the altar rises 3 1⁄2 feet[m] to a lower ledge that surrounds the altar and is 21 inches[n] wide. From the lower ledge the altar rises 7 feet[o] to the upper ledge that is also 21 inches wide. 15 The top of the altar, the hearth, rises another 7 feet higher, with a horn rising up from each of the four corners. 16 The top of the altar is square, measuring 21 feet by 21 feet.[p] 17 The upper ledge also forms a square, measuring 24 1⁄2 feet by 24 1⁄2 feet,[q] with a 21-inch gutter and a 10 1⁄2-inch curb[r] all around the edge. There are steps going up the east side of the altar.”

18 Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for the burning of offerings and the sprinkling of blood when the altar is built. 19 At that time, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who minister before me, are to be given a young bull for a sin offering, says the Sovereign Lord. 20 You will take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, the four corners of the upper ledge, and the curb that runs around that ledge. This will cleanse and make atonement for the altar. 21 Then take the young bull for the sin offering and burn it at the appointed place outside the Temple area.

22 “On the second day, sacrifice as a sin offering a young male goat that has no physical defects. Then cleanse and make atonement for the altar again, just as you did with the young bull. 23 When you have finished the cleansing ceremony, offer another young bull that has no defects and a perfect ram from the flock. 24 You are to present them to the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and offer them as a burnt offering to the Lord.

25 “Every day for seven days a male goat, a young bull, and a ram from the flock will be sacrificed as a sin offering. None of these animals may have physical defects of any kind. 26 Do this each day for seven days to cleanse and make atonement for the altar, thus setting it apart for holy use. 27 On the eighth day, and on each day afterward, the priests will sacrifice on the altar the burnt offerings and peace offerings of the people. Then I will accept you. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Footnotes:

  1. 42:2a Hebrew 100 cubits [53 meters]; also in 42:8.
  2. 42:2b Hebrew 50 cubits [26.5 meters]; also in 42:7, 8.
  3. 42:3 Hebrew 20-cubit [10.6-meter].
  4. 42:4a Hebrew 10 cubits [5.3 meters].
  5. 42:4b As in Greek and Syriac versions, which read Its length was 100 cubits [53 meters]; Hebrew reads and a passage 1 cubit [18 inches or 53 centimeters] wide.
  6. 42:10 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads east.
  7. 42:16 As in 45:2 and in Greek version at 42:17, which reads 500 cubits [265 meters]; Hebrew reads 500 rods [5,250 feet or 1,590 meters]; similarly in 42:17, 18, 19, 20.
  8. 43:11 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads if they are ashamed.
  9. 43:13a Hebrew measurements of the altar in long cubits, each being a cubit [18 inches or 45 centimeters] and a handbreadth [3 inches or 8 centimeters] in length.
  10. 43:13b Hebrew a cubit [53 centimeters] deep and a cubit wide.
  11. 43:13c Hebrew 1 span [23 centimeters].
  12. 43:13d As in Greek version; Hebrew reads base.
  13. 43:14a Hebrew 2 cubits [1.1 meters].
  14. 43:14b Hebrew 1 cubit [53 centimeters]; also in 43:14d.
  15. 43:14c Hebrew 4 cubits [2.1 meters]; also in 43:15.
  16. 43:16 Hebrew 12 cubits [6.4 meters] long and 12 cubits wide.
  17. 43:17a Hebrew 14 cubits [7.4 meters] long and 14 cubits wide.
  18. 43:17b Hebrew a gutter of 1 cubit [53 centimeters] and a curb of 1⁄2 a cubit [27 centimeters].
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 5

Warning to the Rich

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people,[a] who do not resist you.[b]

Patience and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[c] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

The Power of Prayer

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

Restore Wandering Believers

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:6a Or killed the Righteous One.
  2. 5:6b Or Don’t they resist you? or Doesn’t God oppose you? or Aren’t they now accusing you before God?
  3. 5:7 Greek brothers; also in 5:9, 10, 12, 19.
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 119:1-16

Psalm 119[a]

Aleph

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me!

Beth

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.

Footnotes:

  1. 119 This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; there are twenty-two stanzas, one for each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within each stanza begins with the Hebrew letter named in its heading.
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 28:6-7

Better to be poor and honest
    than to be dishonest and rich.

Young people who obey the law are wise;
    those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. 28:7 Hebrew their father.
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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