Ezekiel 3-4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
3 The Lord said, “Ezekiel, son of man, after you eat this scroll, go speak to the people of Israel.”
2-3 He handed me the scroll and said, “Eat this and fill up on it.” So I ate the scroll, and it tasted sweet as honey.
4 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, I am sending you to your own people. 5-6 They are Israelites, not some strangers who speak a foreign language you can’t understand. If I were to send you to foreign nations, they would listen to you. 7 But the people of Israel will refuse to listen, because they have refused to listen to me. All of them are stubborn and hardheaded, 8 so I will make you as stubborn as they are. 9 You will be so determined to speak my message that nothing will stop you. I will make you hard like a diamond, and you’ll have no reason to be afraid of those arrogant rebels.
10 Listen carefully to everything I say and then think about it. 11 Then go to the people who were brought here to Babylonia with you and tell them you have a message from me, the Lord God. Do this, whether they listen to you or not.
12 The Spirit[a] lifted me up, and as the glory of the Lord started to leave,[b] I heard a loud, thundering noise behind me. 13 It was the sound made by the creatures' wings as they brushed against each other, and by the rumble of the wheels beside them. 14 Then the Spirit carried me away.
The Lord’s power had taken complete control of me, and I was both annoyed and angry.
15 When I was back with the others living at Abib Hill near the Chebar River, I sat among them for seven days, shocked at what had happened to me.
The Lord Appoints Ezekiel To Stand Watch
16 Seven days after I had seen the brightness of the Lord’s glory, the Lord said:
17 Ezekiel, son of man, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. 18 When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways so they won’t be punished. If you refuse, you are responsible for their death. 19 However, if you do warn them, and they keep on sinning, they will die because of their sins, and you will be innocent.
20 Now suppose faithful people start sinning, and I decide to put stumbling blocks in their paths to make them fall. They deserve to die because of their sins. So if you refuse to warn them, I will forget about the times they were faithful, and I will hold you responsible for their death. 21 But if you do warn them, and they listen to you and stop sinning, I will let them live. And you will be innocent.
Ezekiel Cannot Talk
22 The Lord took control of me and said, “Stand up! Go into the valley, and I will talk with you there.”
23 I immediately went to the valley, where I saw the brightness of the Lord’s glory, just as I had seen near the Chebar River, and I bowed with my face to the ground. 24 His Spirit took control of me and lifted me to my feet. Then the Lord said:
Go back and lock yourself in your house! 25 You will be tied up to keep you inside, 26 and I will make you unable to talk or to warn those who have rebelled against me. 27 But the time will come, when I will tell you what to say, and you will again be able to speak my message.[c] Some of them will listen; others will be stubborn and refuse to listen.
Ezekiel Acts Out an Attack on Jerusalem
The Lord said:
4 Ezekiel, son of man, find a brick and sketch a picture of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then prepare to attack the brick as if it were a real city. Build a dirt mound and a ramp up to the top and surround the brick with enemy camps. On every side put large wooden poles as though you were going to break down the gate to the city. 3 Set up an iron pan like a wall between you and the brick. All this will be a warning for the people of Israel.
4-5 After that, lie down on your left side and stay there for three hundred ninety days as a sign of Israel’s punishment[d]—one day for each year of its suffering. 6 Then turn over and lie on your right side forty more days. That will be a sign of Judah’s punishment—one day for each year of its suffering.
7 The brick stands for Jerusalem, so attack it! Stare at it and shout angry warnings. 8 I will tie you up, so you can’t leave until your attack has ended.
9 Get a large bowl. Then mix together wheat, barley, beans, lentils, and millet, and make some bread. This is what you will eat for the three hundred ninety days you are lying down. 10 Eat only a small loaf of bread each day 11 and drink only two large cups of water. 12 Use dried human waste to start a fire, then bake the bread on the coals where everyone can watch you. 13 When I scatter the people of Israel among the nations, they will also have to eat food that is unclean, just as you must do.[e]
14 I said, “Lord God, please don’t make me do that! Never in my life have I eaten food that would make me unacceptable to you. I’ve never eaten anything that died a natural death or was killed by a wild animal or that you said was unclean.”
15 The Lord replied, “Instead of human waste, I will let you bake your bread on a fire made from cow manure. 16 Ezekiel, the people of Jerusalem will starve. They will have so little food and water that they will be afraid and hopeless. 17 Everyone will be shocked at what is happening, and, because of their sins, they will die a slow death.”
Hebrews 11:20-40 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
20 Isaac had faith, and he promised blessings to Jacob and Esau. 21 Later, when Jacob was about to die, he leaned on his walking stick and worshiped. Then because of his faith he blessed each of Joseph’s sons. 22 And right before Joseph died, he had faith that God would lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. So he told them to take his bones with them.
23 Because Moses' parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s orders.[a] 24 Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh’s grandson. 25 He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. 26 Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah,[b] and he looked forward to his reward.
27 Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. Moses had seen the invisible God and wasn’t afraid of the king’s anger. 28 His faith also made him celebrate Passover. He sprinkled the blood of animals on the doorposts, so that the first-born sons of the people of Israel would not be killed by the destroying angel.
29 Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea[c] on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned.
30 God’s people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down.
31 Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn’t killed with the people who disobeyed.
32 What else can I say? There isn’t enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34 and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.
35 Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36 Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37 Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two[d] or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured. 38 The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40 This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.
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