Daily reading for Friday, November 22, 2013
Today's audio is from the HCSB. Switch to the HCSB to read along with the audio.
Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Psalms 119:17-32; Proverbs 28:8-10 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
The East Gate Is Sealed Shut
44 Then the man took me back to the outer east gate of the holy place, and the gate was shut. 2 The Lord said to me, “This gate will stay shut and will not be opened. No one may enter through it because the Lord God of Israel entered through it. It must be kept shut. 3 Only the prince may sit there and eat food in the presence of the Lord. He will enter through the entrance hall of the gateway and leave the same way.”
4 The man brought me through the north gate in front of the temple. When I looked, I saw the Lord’s glory fill the Lord’s temple. I immediately bowed down.
The People Serving in the New Temple
5 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, pay close attention. Look, and listen to everything I’m going to tell you. Listen to all the rules and regulations for the Lord’s temple. Pay close attention to everyone who enters the temple and leaves from the holy place. 6 Tell the rebellious people of Israel, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I’ve had enough of all the disgusting things that you have done, people of Israel. 7 You brought godless foreigners[a] into my holy place. You dishonored my temple when you offered fat and blood to me. You rejected my promise so that you could do all your disgusting things. 8 You didn’t take care of my holy things. You put foreigners in charge of my temple. 9 So this is what the Almighty Lord says: Any godless foreigner who lives among the Israelites may not enter my holy place.
10 “‘Some Levites went far away from me when Israel wandered off to follow their idols. They must be punished for their sins. 11 They could have served in my holy place. They could have guarded the gates of the temple. They could have served in the temple by slaughtering the animals for the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for the people. They could have stood in front of the people and served them. 12 But they served the people by standing in front of their idols and by making Israel fall into sin. So I raised my hand and swore that they would be punished for their sins, declares the Lord. 13 They must not come near me and serve me as priests. They must not come near any of my holy things or my most holy things. They must suffer disgrace because of the disgusting things that they have done. 14 I will assign them all of the less important work in the temple.
15 “‘But the priests who are Levites and descendants of Zadok took care of my holy place when the Israelites wandered away from me. They may come near me and serve me, and they may stand in my presence. They may bring fat and blood to me, declares the Almighty Lord. 16 They may enter my holy place, come near my table to serve me, and take care of everything I gave them. 17 When they enter the gateways to the inner courtyard, they must wear linen clothes. They must have no wool on them while they serve in the gateways to the inner courtyard and in the temple. 18 They must wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that makes them sweat. 19 When they go out among the people in the outer courtyard, they must take off the clothes that they wore as they served. They must leave their clothes in the side rooms of the holy place and put on other clothes so that they do not transfer the holiness from their clothes to the people.
20 “‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long. They must keep the hair on their heads trimmed. 21 None of the priests may drink wine when they enter the inner courtyard. 22 They must not marry widows or women who have been divorced. They may marry only virgins from the nation of Israel or widows of priests. 23 They must teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is unholy. They must show the people how to tell the difference between what is clean and what is unclean.[b] 24 In all disputes the priests must act as judges and make decisions based on my laws. They must obey my rules and my regulations at all my festivals. They must observe holy days to worship me.
25 “‘A priest must not make himself unclean by going near a dead body. But a priest may become unclean if the dead person is his father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or unmarried sister. 26 After a priest is made clean, he must wait seven days. 27 When he enters the inner courtyard of the holy place to serve in the holy place, he must bring his offering for sin, declares the Almighty Lord.
28 “‘The priests will have no inheritance. I am their inheritance. Don’t give them any possessions in Israel. The priests belong to me. 29 They will eat grain offerings, offerings for sin, and guilt offerings. Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord will belong to them. 30 The priests should have the best of all the first ripened fruits. The best of every gift from all your contributions must go to the priests. The best of your dough must go to the priests. This will cause a blessing to rest on your home. 31 The priests must never eat any bird or animal that has died naturally or was killed by other wild animals.
Land for the Priests, Levites, and the Prince
45 “‘Divide the land by drawing lots for the property you will inherit. Set aside an area 43,750 feet long and 35,000 feet wide for the Lord. The entire area will be holy. 2 An area of 875 feet square will be for the holy place with an open area 87½ feet wide. 3 Measure off an area 43,750 feet long and 17,500 feet wide. The holy place, that is, the most holy place, will be in this area. 4 This holy part of the land will belong to the priests who serve in the holy place, the priests who come near to serve the Lord. They will use this place for their homes, and it will be the location for the holy place. 5 An area 43,750 feet long and 17,500 feet wide will belong to the Levites who serve in the temple. It will be given to them so that they have cities to live in.
6 “‘You must designate an area 8,750 feet wide and 43,750 feet long as the city’s property. It will be located alongside the holy area. It will belong to all the people of Israel.
7 “‘The prince will have all the land on both sides of the holy area and on both sides of the property belonging to the city. From the western boundary of the holy area, his land will extend to the Mediterranean Sea. From the eastern boundary of the holy area, his land will extend to the eastern border of the country. His territory will be as large as the territory of one of the tribes. 8 This land will belong to the prince in Israel. Then my princes will no longer oppress my people. They will give land to each tribe of the nation of Israel.
Honest Weights and Measures for the Lord’s People
9 “‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: I’ve had enough of you, you princes of Israel. Stop your violence and looting, and do what is fair and right. Stop evicting my people, declares the Almighty Lord. 10 You must have honest scales and honest dry and liquid measures. 11 The dry and liquid measures must always be the same: The ephah and the bath should hold the same as one-tenth of a homer. The homer must be the standard measure.[c] 12 One shekel must weigh 20 gerahs. One mina must weigh 60 shekels.[d]
- Ezekiel 44:7 Or “foreigners whose hearts and bodies are uncircumcised.”
- Ezekiel 44:23 “Clean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is presentable to God. “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
- Ezekiel 45:11 A homer was about 60 gallons as a liquid measure or 6 bushels as a dry measure.
- Ezekiel 45:12 A shekel was about four-tenths of an ounce.
1 Peter 1:1-12
1 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
To God’s chosen people who are temporary residents in the world and are scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you long ago and chose you to live holy lives with the Spirit’s help so that you are obedient to Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood.
May good will[a] and peace fill your lives!
Faith in Christ Brings You Joy
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! God has given us a new birth because of his great mercy. We have been born into a new life that has a confidence which is alive because Jesus Christ has come back to life. 4 We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can’t be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 since you are guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time.
6 You are extremely happy about these things, even though you have to suffer different kinds of trouble for a little while now. 7 The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again.
8 Although you have never seen Christ, you love him. You don’t see him now, but you believe in him. You are extremely happy with joy and praise that can hardly be expressed in words 9 as you obtain the salvation that is the goal of your faith.
10 The prophets carefully researched and investigated this salvation. Long ago they spoke about God’s kindness[b] that would come to you. 11 So they tried to find out what time or situation the Spirit of Christ kept referring to whenever he predicted Christ’s sufferings and the glory that would follow. 12 God revealed to the prophets that the things they had spoken were not for their own benefit but for yours. What the prophets had spoken, the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven, has now made known to you by those who spread the Good News among you. These are things that even the angels want to look into.
17 Be kind to me so that I may live
and hold on to your word.
18 Uncover my eyes
so that I may see the miraculous things in your teachings.
19 I am a foreigner in this world.
Do not hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is overwhelmed with endless longing for your regulations.
21 You threaten arrogant people, who are condemned
and wander away from your commandments.
22 Remove the insults and contempt that have fallen on me
because I have obeyed your written instructions.
23 Even though influential people plot against me,
I reflect on your laws.
24 Indeed, your written instructions make me happy.
They are my best friends.
25 I am close to death.
Give me a new life as you promised.
26 I told you what I have done, and you answered me.
Teach me your laws.
27 Help me understand your guiding principles
so that I may reflect on your miracles.
28 I am drowning in tears.
Strengthen me as you promised.
29 Turn me away from a life of lies.
Graciously provide me with your teachings.
30 I have chosen a life of faithfulness.
I have set your regulations in front of me.
31 I have clung tightly to your written instructions.
O Lord, do not let me be put to shame.
32 I will eagerly pursue your commandments
because you continue to increase my understanding.
8 Whoever becomes wealthy through unfair loans and interest
collects them for the one who is kind to the poor.
9 Surely the prayer of someone who refuses
to listen to God’s teachings is disgusting.
10 Whoever leads decent people into evil will fall into his own pit,
but innocent people will inherit good things.