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Ezekiel 21-22; Hebrews 10:1-17; Psalm 108; Proverbs 27:12 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 21-22

The Lord Will Punish Jerusalem

21 The Lord said:

Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the places in Jerusalem where people worship. Warn everyone in Israel that I am about to punish them. I will pull out my sword and have it ready to kill everyone, whether good or evil. From south to north, people will die, knowing that my sword will never be put away.

Ezekiel, groan in sorrow and despair so that everyone can hear you. When they ask why you are groaning, tell them you have terrifying news that will make them faint and tremble in fear and lose all courage. These things will happen soon. I, the Lord God, make this promise!

A Sword Is Ready To Attack Israel

The Lord said:

9-10 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Jerusalem:

I have sharpened my sword
    to slaughter you;
it is shiny and will flash
    like lightning!
Don’t celebrate—
    punishment is coming,
because everyone has ignored
    my warnings.[a]
11 My sword has been polished;
    it’s sharp and ready to kill.

12 Groan in sorrow, Ezekiel;
the sword is drawn against
    my people
and their leaders.
They will die!
    So give up all hope.
13 I am testing my people,
and they can do nothing
    to stop me.[b]
I, the Lord, have spoken.

14 Ezekiel, warn my people,
then celebrate my victory
    by clapping your hands.
My vicious sword will attack
    again and again,
killing my people
    with every stroke.
15 They will lose all courage
    and stumble with fear.
My slaughtering sword
is waiting at every gate,
    flashing and ready to kill.[c]
16 It will slash right and left,
    wherever the blade is pointed.
17 Then I will stop being angry,
and I will clap my hands
    in victory.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

The King of Babylonia and His Sword

18 The Lord said:

19 Ezekiel, son of man, mark two roads for the king of Babylonia to follow when he comes with his sword. The roads will begin at the same place, but be sure to put up a signpost where the two roads separate and go in different directions. 20 Clearly mark where the two roads lead. One goes to Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, and the other goes to Jerusalem, the fortified capital of Judah. 21 When the Babylonian king stands at that signpost, he will decide which way to go by shaking his arrows, by asking his idols, and by carefully looking at the liver of a sacrificed animal.[d] 22 His right hand will pull out the arrow marked “Jerusalem.” Then he will immediately give the signal to shout the battle cry, to build dirt ramps to the top of the city walls, to break down its walls and gates with large wooden poles, and to kill the people. 23 Everyone in Jerusalem had promised to be loyal to Babylonia, and so none of them will believe that this could happen to them. But Babylonia’s king will remind them of their sinful ways and warn them of their coming captivity.

24 Ezekiel, tell the people of Jerusalem and their ruler that I, the Lord God, am saying:

Everything you do is wicked and shows how sinful you are. You are guilty and will be taken away as prisoners.

25 And now, you evil and wicked ruler of Israel, your day of final punishment is almost here. 26 I, the Lord God, command you to take off your royal turban and your crown, because everything will be different. Those who had no power will be put in charge, and those who now rule will become nobodies. 27 I will leave Jerusalem in ruins when my chosen one comes to punish this city.

Judgment against Ammon

28 The Lord God said:

Ezekiel, son of man, the Ammonites have insulted Israel, so condemn them and tell them I am saying:

A sword is drawn,
    ready to slaughter;
it is polished and prepared
    to kill as fast as lightning.

29 You wicked Ammonites see false visions and believe untrue messages. But your day of punishment is coming soon, and my sword will slaughter you!

30 Your days to punish others are over, so put your swords away.[e] You will be punished in the land of your birth. 31 My furious anger will scorch you like fire, and I will hand you over to cruel men who are experts in killing. 32 You will be burned and will die in your own land. Then you will be forgotten forever. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jerusalem Is Condemned

22 Some time later, the Lord said:

Ezekiel, son of man, are you ready to condemn Jerusalem? That city is filled with murderers, so remind the people of their sins and tell them I am saying:

Jerusalem, you have murdered many of your own people and have worshiped idols. You will soon be punished! Those crimes have made you guilty, and the idols have made you unacceptable to me. So your final punishment is near. Other nations will laugh at you and make insulting remarks, and people far and near will make fun of your misery.

Your own leaders use their power to murder. None of you honor your parents, and you cheat foreigners, orphans, and widows. You show no respect for my sacred places and treat the Sabbath just like any other day. Some of your own people tell lies, so that others will be put to death. Some of you eat meat sacrificed to idols at local shrines, and others never stop doing vulgar things. 10 Men have sex with their father’s wife or with women who are having their monthly period 11 or with someone else’s wife. Some men even sleep with their own daughter-in-law or half sister. 12 Others of you accept money to murder someone. Your own people charge high interest when making a loan to other Israelites, and they get rich by cheating. Worst of all, you have forgotten me, the Lord God.

13 I will shake my fist in anger at your violent crimes. 14 When I’m finished with you, your courage will disappear, and you will be so weak that you won’t be able to lift your hands. I, the Lord, have spoken and will not change my mind. 15 I will scatter you throughout every nation on earth and put a stop to your sinful ways. 16 You[f] will be humiliated in the eyes of other nations. Then you will know that I, the Lord God, have done these things.

Jerusalem Must Be Purified

17 The Lord said:

18 Ezekiel, son of man, I consider the people of Israel as worthless as the leftover metal in a furnace after silver has been purified. 19 So I am going to bring them together in Jerusalem. 20-21 I will be like a metalworker who collects that metal from the furnace and melts it down. I will collect the Israelites and blow on them with my fiery anger. They will melt inside the city of Jerusalem 22 like silver in a furnace. Then they will know that I, the Lord, have punished them in my anger.

Everyone in Jerusalem Is Guilty

23 The Lord said:

24 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that their country is full of sin, and that I, the Lord, am furious! 25 Their leaders are like[g] roaring lions, tearing apart their victims. They put people to death, then steal everything of value. Husbands are killed, and many women are left as widows.

26 The priests of Israel ignore my Law! Not only do they refuse to respect any of my sacred things, but they don’t even teach the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, or between what is clean and what is unclean. They treat my Sabbath like any other day, and so my own people no longer honor me.

27 Israel’s officials are like ferocious wolves, ripping their victims apart. They make a dishonest living by injuring and killing people.

28 And then the prophets in Israel cover up these sins by giving false visions. I have never spoken to them, but they lie and say they have a message from me. 29 The people themselves cheat and rob; they abuse the poor and take advantage of foreigners.

30 I looked for someone to defend the city and to protect it from my anger, as well as to stop me from destroying it. But I found no one. 31 So in my fierce anger, I will punish the Israelites for what they have done, and they will know that I am furious. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. 21.9,10 Don’t celebrate. . . my warnings: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 21.13 I am testing. . . me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 21.15 My slaughtering sword. . . ready to kill: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 21.21 shaking. . . animal: These were ways the Babylonians found out what their gods wanted them to do.
  5. 21.30 Your days. . . put your swords away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 22.16 You: Hebrew; two ancient translations “Because of you, I.”
  7. 22.25 Their leaders are like: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Their prophets are like herds of.”
Read More
Hebrews 10:1-17

10 The Law of Moses is like a shadow of the good things to come. This shadow isn’t the good things themselves, because it cannot free people from sin by the sacrifices that are offered year after year. If there were worshipers who already have their sins washed away and their consciences made clear, there would not be any need to go on offering sacrifices. 3-4 But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It only reminds people of their sins from one year to the next.

When Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“Sacrifices and offerings
    are not what you want,
but you have given me
    my body.
No, you are not pleased
with animal sacrifices
    and offerings for sin.”

Then Christ said,

“And so, my God,
    I have come to do
what you want,
    as the Scriptures say.”

The Law teaches that offerings and sacrifices must be made because of sin. But why did Christ mention these things and say that God did not want them? Well, it was to do away with offerings and sacrifices and to replace them. That is what he meant by saying to God, “I have come to do what you want.” 10 So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all.

11 The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good forever. Now he is sitting at God’s right side,[a] 13 and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power. 14 By his one sacrifice he has forever set free from sin the people he brings to God.

15 The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said,

16 “When the time comes,
I will make an agreement
    with them.
I will write my laws
    on their minds and hearts.
17 Then I will forget
    about their sins
and no longer remember
    their evil deeds.”

Footnotes:

  1. 10.12 right side: See the note at 1.3.
Read More
Psalm 108

(A song and a psalm by David.)

With God on Our Side

108 Our God, I am faithful to you
with all my heart,
    and you can trust me.
I will sing
and play music for you
    with all that I am.
    I will start playing my harps
    before the sun rises.
I will praise you, Lord,
    for everyone to hear;
    I will sing hymns to you
    in every nation.
Your love reaches higher
    than the heavens,
    and your loyalty extends
    beyond the clouds.

Our God, may you be honored
    above the heavens;
    may your glory be seen
    everywhere on earth.
Answer my prayers
and use your powerful arm
    to give us victory.
    Then the people you love
    will be safe.

Our God, from your holy place
    you made this promise:
“I will gladly divide up
    the city of Shechem
    and give away Succoth Valley
    piece by piece.
The lands of Gilead
    and Manasseh are mine.
Ephraim is my war helmet,
    and Judah is my symbol
    of royal power.
Moab is merely my washbasin,
    and Edom belongs to me.
I shout with victory
    over the Philistines.”

10 Our God, who will bring me
to the fortress
    or lead me to Edom?
11 Have you rejected us?
    You don’t lead our armies.
12     Help us defeat our enemies!
    No one else can rescue us.
13 You are the one
who gives us victory
    and crushes our enemies.

Read More
Proverbs 27:12

12 Be cautious and hide
    when you see danger—
    don’t be stupid and walk
    right into trouble.

Read More
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