Ezekiel 5-7Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jerusalem’s Coming Destruction
The Lord said:
5 Ezekiel, son of man, get a sharp sword and use it to cut off your hair and beard. Weigh the hair and divide it into three equal piles. 2 After you attack the brick that stands for Jerusalem, burn one pile of your hair on the brick. Chop up the second pile and let the small pieces of hair fall around the brick. Throw the third pile into the wind, and I will strike it with my own sword.
3 Keep a few of the hairs and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. 4 Then pull out a few of those hairs and throw them in the fire, so they will also burn. This fire will spread, destroying everyone in Israel.
5 I am the Lord God, and I have made Jerusalem the most important place in the world, and all other nations admire it. 6 But the people of Jerusalem rebelled and refuse to obey me. They ignored my laws and have become even more sinful than the nations around them.
7 So tell the people of Jerusalem:
I am the Lord God! You have refused to obey my laws and teachings, and instead you have obeyed the laws of the surrounding nations. You have become more rebellious than any of them! 8 Now all those nations will watch as I turn against you and punish you 9 for your sins. Your punishment will be more horrible than anything I’ve ever done or will ever do again. 10 Parents will be so desperate for food that they will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. Those who survive this horror will be scattered in every direction.
11 Your disgusting sins have made my temple unfit as a place to worship me. So I swear by my own life that I will turn my back on you and show you no pity. 12 A third of you will die here in Jerusalem from disease or starvation. Another third will be killed in war. And I will scatter the last third of you in every direction, then track you down and kill you.
13 You will feel my fierce anger until I have finished taking revenge. Then you will know that I, the Lord, was furious because of your disobedience. 14 Every passerby will laugh at your destruction. Foreign nations 15 will insult you and make fun of you, but they will also be shocked and terrified at what I did in my anger. 16 I will destroy your crops until you starve to death, and disasters will strike you like arrows. 17 Starvation and wild animals will kill your children. I’ll punish you with horrible diseases, and your enemies will strike you down with their swords. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Israel Is Doomed
6 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, face the hills of Israel and tell them:
3 Listen, you mountains and hills, and every valley and gorge! I, the Lord, am about to turn against you and crush all the places where foreign gods are worshiped. 4 Every altar will be smashed, and in front of the idols I will put to death the people who worship them. 5 Dead bodies and bones will be lying around the idols and the altars. 6 Every town in Israel will be destroyed to make sure that each shrine, idol, and altar is smashed—everything the Israelites made will be a pile of ruins. 7 All over the country, your people will die. And those who survive will know that I, the Lord, did these things. 8 I will let some of the people live through this punishment, but I will scatter them among the nations, 9 where they will be prisoners. And when they think of me, they will realize that they disgraced me by rebelling and by worshiping idols. They will hate themselves for the evil things they did, 10 and they will know that I am the Lord and that my warnings must be taken seriously.
11 The Lord God then said:
Ezekiel, beat your fists together and stomp your feet in despair! Moan in sorrow, because the people of Israel have done disgusting things and now will be killed by enemy troops, or they will die from starvation and disease. 12 Those who live far away will be struck with deadly diseases. Those who live nearby will be killed in war. And the ones who are left will starve to death. I will let loose my anger on them! 13 These people used to offer incense to idols at altars built on hills and mountaintops and in the shade of large oak trees. But when they see dead bodies lying around those altars, they will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will make their country a barren wasteland, from the Southern Desert to the town of Diblah in the north. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have done these things.
Disaster Is Near
7 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that I am saying:
Israel will soon come to an end! Your whole country is about to be destroyed 3 as punishment for your disgusting sins. I, the Lord, am so angry 4 that I will show no pity. I will punish you for the evil you’ve done, and you will know that I am the Lord.
5 There’s never been anything like the coming disaster.[a] 6 And when it comes, your life will be over. 7 You people of Israel are doomed! Soon there will be panic on the mountaintops instead of celebration.[b] 8 I will let loose my anger and punish you for the evil things you’ve done. You’ll get what you deserve. 9 Your sins are so terrible, that you’ll get no mercy from me. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have punished you.
10 Disaster is near! Injustice and arrogance are everywhere, 11 and violent criminals run free. None of you will survive the disaster, and everything you own and value will be shattered.[c] 12 The time is coming when everyone will be ruined. Buying and selling will stop, 13 and people who sell property will never get it back, because all of you must be punished for your sins. And I won’t change my mind![d]
14 A signal has been blown on the trumpet, and weapons are prepared for battle. But no one goes to war, because in my anger I will strike down everyone in Israel.
Israel Is Surrounded
The Lord said to the people of Israel:
15 War, disease, and starvation are everywhere! People who live in the countryside will be killed in battle, and those who live in towns will die from starvation or deadly diseases. 16 Anyone who survives will escape into the hills, like doves who leave the valleys to find safety.
All of you will moan[e] because of your sins. 17 Your hands will tremble, and your knees will go limp. 18 You will put on sackcloth[f] to show your sorrow, but terror will overpower you. Shame will be written all over your faces, and you will shave your heads in despair. 19 Your silver and gold will be thrown into the streets like garbage, because those are the two things that led you into sin, and now they cannot save you from my anger. They are not even worth enough to buy food. 20 You took great pride in using your beautiful jewelry to make disgusting idols of foreign gods. So I will make your jewelry worthless.
21 Wicked foreigners will rob and disgrace you. 22 They will break into my temple[g] and leave it unfit as a place to worship me, but I will look away and let it happen.
23 Your whole country is in confusion![h] Murder and violence are everywhere in Israel, 24 so I will tell the most wicked nations to come and take over your homes. They will put an end to the pride you have in your strong army, and they will make your places of worship unfit to use. 25 You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace—but there will be no peace. 26 One tragedy will follow another, and you’ll hear only bad news. People will beg prophets to give them a message from me. Priests will stop teaching my Law, and wise leaders won’t be able to give advice. 27 Even your king and his officials will lose hope and cry in despair. Your hands will tremble with fear.
I will punish you for your sins and treat you the same way you have treated others. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Hebrews 12Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A Large Crowd of Witnesses
12 Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. 2 We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side[a] of God’s throne! 3 So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.
4 None of you have yet been hurt[b] in your battle against sin. 5 But you have forgotten that the Scriptures say to God’s children,
“When the Lord punishes you,
7 Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats his children. Don’t all parents correct their children? 8 God corrects all of his children, and if he doesn’t correct you, then you don’t really belong to him. 9 Our earthly fathers correct us, and we still respect them. Isn’t it even better to be given true life by letting our spiritual Father correct us?
10 Our human fathers correct us for a short time, and they do it as they think best. But God corrects us for our own good, because he wants us to be holy, as he is. 11 It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace.
12 Now stand up straight! Stop your knees from shaking 13 and walk a straight path. Then lame people will be healed, instead of getting worse.
Warning against Turning from God
14 Try to live at peace with everyone! Live a clean life. If you don’t, you will never see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness. Don’t let anyone become bitter and cause trouble for the rest of you. 16 Watch out for immoral and ungodly people like Esau, who sold his future blessing[c] for only one meal. 17 You know how he later wanted it back. But there was nothing he could do to change things, even though he begged his father and cried.
18 You have not come to a place like Mount Sinai[d] that can be seen and touched. There is no flaming fire or dark cloud or storm 19 or trumpet sound. The people of Israel heard a voice speak. But they begged it to stop, 20 because they could not obey its commands. They were even told to kill any animal that touched the mountain. 21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said he shook with fear.
22 You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate. 23 Here you will find all of God’s dearest children,[e] whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect. 24 And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God’s new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.[f]
25 Make sure that you obey the one who speaks to you. The people did not escape, when they refused to obey the one who spoke to them at Mount Sinai. Do you think you can possibly escape, if you refuse to obey the one who speaks to you from heaven? 26 When God spoke the first time, his voice shook only the earth. This time he has promised to shake the earth once again, and heaven too.
27 The words “once again” mean that these created things will someday be shaken and removed. Then what cannot be shaken will last. 28 We should be grateful that we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect. 29 Our God is like a destructive fire!
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