Ezekiel 33-34 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord Appoints Ezekiel To Stand Watch
33 The Lord said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, warn your people by saying:
Someday, I, the Lord, may send an enemy to invade a country. And suppose its people choose someone to stand watch 3 and to sound a warning signal when the enemy is seen coming. 4-5 If any of these people hear the signal and ignore it, they will be killed in battle. But it will be their own fault, because they could have escaped if they had paid attention.
6 But suppose the person watching fails to sound the warning signal. The enemy will attack and kill some of the sinful people in that country, and I, the Lord, will hold that person responsible for their death.
7 Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. 8 When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you refuse to warn them, you are responsible for their death. 9 If you do warn them, and they keep sinning, they will die because of their sins, and you will be innocent.
The Lord Is Always Fair
10 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, the people of Israel are complaining that the punishment for their sins is more than they can stand. They have lost all hope for survival, and they blame me. 11 Tell them that as surely as I am the living Lord God, I don’t like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. So if the Israelites want to live, they must stop sinning and turn back to me.
12 Tell them that when good people start sinning, all the good they did in the past cannot save them from being punished. And remind them that when wicked people stop sinning, their past sins will be completely forgiven, and they won’t be punished.
13 Suppose I promise good people that they will live, then later they start sinning and believe they will be saved by the good they did in the past. These people will certainly be put to death because of their sins. Their good deeds will be forgotten.
14 Suppose I warn wicked people that they will die because of their sins, and they stop sinning and start doing right. 15 For example, they need to return anything they have taken as security for a loan and anything they have stolen. Then if they stop doing evil and start obeying my Law, they will live. 16 Their past sins will be forgiven, and they will live because they have done right.
17 Ezekiel, your people accuse me of being unfair. But they are the ones who are unfair. 18 If good people start doing evil, they will be put to death, because they have sinned. 19 And if wicked people stop sinning and start doing right, they will save themselves from punishment. 20 But the Israelites still think I am unfair. So warn them that they will be punished for what they have done.
The News of Jerusalem’s Fall
21 Twelve years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, a refugee who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me on the fifth day of the tenth month.[a] He told me that the city had fallen.
22 The evening before this man arrived at my house, the Lord had taken control of me. So when the man came to me the next morning, I could once again speak.[b]
What Will Happen to Those Left in Israel?
23 Then the Lord said:
24 Ezekiel, son of man, the people living in the ruined cities of Israel are saying, “Abraham was just one man, and the Lord gave him this whole land of Israel. There are many of us, and so this land must be ours.”
25 So, Ezekiel, tell them I am saying:
How can you think the land is still yours? You eat meat with blood in it and worship idols. You commit murder 26 and spread violence throughout the land. Everything you do is wicked; you are even unfaithful in marriage. And you claim the land is yours!
27 As surely as I am the living Lord God, you people in the ruined cities will be killed in battle. Those of you living in the countryside will be eaten by wild animals, and those hiding in caves and on rocky cliffs will die from deadly diseases. 28 I will make the whole country an empty wasteland and crush the power in which you take such pride. Even the mountains will be bare, and no one will try to cross them. 29 I will punish you because of your sins, and I will turn your nation into a barren desert. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
The People Listen, but Don’t Change
The Lord said:
30 Ezekiel, son of man, the people with you in Babylonia talk about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say, “Let’s ask Ezekiel what the Lord has said today.” 31 So they all come and listen to you, but they refuse to do what you tell them. They claim to be faithful, but they are forever trying to cheat others out of their money. 32 They treat you as though you were merely singing love songs or playing music. They listen, but don’t do anything you say.
33 Soon they will be punished, just as you warned, and they will know that a prophet has been among them.
Israel’s Leaders Are Worthless Shepherds
34 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, Israel’s leaders are like shepherds taking care of my sheep, the people of Israel. But I want you to condemn these leaders and tell them:
I, the Lord God, say you shepherds of Israel are doomed! You take care of yourselves while ignoring my sheep. 3 You drink their milk and use their wool to make your clothes. Then you butcher the best ones for food. But you don’t take care of the flock! 4 You have never protected the weak ones or healed the sick ones or bandaged those that get hurt. You let them wander off and never look for those that get lost. You are cruel and mean to my sheep. 5 They strayed in every direction, and because there was no shepherd to watch them, they were attacked and eaten by wild animals. 6 So my sheep were scattered across the earth. They roamed on hills and mountains, without anyone even bothering to look for them.
7-8 Now listen to what I, the living Lord God, am saying to you shepherds. My sheep have been attacked and eaten by wild animals, because you refused to watch them. You never went looking for the lost ones, and you fed yourselves without feeding my sheep. 9-10 So I, the Lord, will punish you! I will rescue my sheep from you and never let you be their shepherd again or butcher them for food. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Is the Good Shepherd
11 The Lord God then said:
I will look for my sheep and take care of them myself, 12 just as a shepherd looks for lost sheep. My sheep have been lost since that dark and miserable day when they were scattered throughout the nations.[c] But I will rescue them 13 and bring them back from the foreign nations where they now live. I will be their shepherd and will let them graze on Israel’s mountains and in the valleys and fertile fields. 14 They will be safe as they feed on grassy meadows and green hills. 15 I promise to take care of them and keep them safe, 16 to look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off, to bandage those that are hurt and protect the ones that are weak. I will also slaughter[d] those that are fat and strong, because I always do right.
Judgment on the Strong Sheep
17 The Lord God said to his sheep, the people of Israel:
I will carefully watch each one of you to decide which ones are the strong sheep and which ones are weak. 18 Some of you eat the greenest grass, then trample down what’s left when you finish. Others drink clean water, then step in the water to make the rest of it muddy. 19 That means my other sheep have nothing fit to eat or drink.
20 So I, the Lord God, will separate you strong sheep from the weak. 21 You strong ones have used your powerful horns to chase off those that are weak, 22 but I will rescue them and no longer let them be mistreated. I will separate the good from the bad.
23 After that, I will give you a shepherd from the family of my servant King David. All of you, both strong and weak, will have the same shepherd, and he will take good care of you. 24 He will be your leader, and I will be your God. I, the Lord, have spoken.
A Bright Future for the Lord’s Sheep
The Lord God said:
25 The people of Israel are my sheep, and I solemnly promise that they will live in peace. I will chase away every wild animal from the desert and the forest, so my sheep will not be afraid. 26 They will live around my holy mountain,[e] and I will bless them by sending more than enough rain 27 to make their trees produce fruit and their crops to grow. I will set them free from slavery and let them live safely in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. 28 Foreign nations will never again rob them, and wild animals will no longer kill and eat them. They will have nothing to fear. 29 I will make their fields produce large amounts of crops, so they will never again go hungry or be laughed at by foreigners. 30 Then everyone will know that I protect my people Israel. I, the Lord, make this promise. 31 They are my sheep; I am their God, and I take care of them.
1 Peter 5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Helping Christian Leaders
5 Church leaders,[a] I am writing to encourage you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ’s suffering, and I will share in his glory when it is shown to us.
2 Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money. 3 Don’t be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them. 4 Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will be given a crown that will never lose its glory.
5 All of you young people should obey your elders. In fact, everyone should be humble toward everyone else. The Scriptures say,
“God opposes proud people,
6 Be humble in the presence of God’s mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. 7 God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
8 Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. 9 But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord’s followers are suffering just as you are. 10 But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 11 God will be in control forever! Amen.
12 Silvanus helped me write this short letter, and I consider him a faithful follower of the Lord. I wanted to encourage you and tell you how kind God really is, so that you will keep on having faith in him.
13 Greetings from the Lord’s followers in Babylon.[b] They are God’s chosen ones.
Mark, who is like a son to me, sends his greetings too.
14 Give each other a warm greeting. I pray that God will give peace to everyone who belongs to Christ.[c]
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