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Ezekiel 37-38

Valley of dry bones

37 The Lord’s power overcame me, and while I was in the Lord’s spirit, he led me out and set me down in the middle of a certain valley. It was full of bones. He led me through them all around, and I saw that there were a great many of them on the valley floor, and they were very dry.

He asked me, “Human one, can these bones live again?”

I said, “Lord God, only you know.”

He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, Dry bones, hear the Lord’s word! The Lord God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again. I will put sinews on you, place flesh on you, and cover you with skin. When I put breath in you, and you come to life, you will know that I am the Lord.”

I prophesied just as I was commanded. There was a great noise as I was prophesying, then a great quaking, and the bones came together, bone by bone. When I looked, suddenly there were sinews on them. The flesh appeared, and then they were covered over with skin. But there was still no breath in them.

He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, human one! Say to the breath, The Lord God proclaims: Come from the four winds, breath! Breathe into these dead bodies and let them live.”

10 I prophesied just as he commanded me. When the breath entered them, they came to life and stood on their feet, an extraordinarily large company.

11 He said to me, “Human one, these bones are the entire house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely finished.’ 12 So now, prophesy and say to them, The Lord God proclaims: I’m opening your graves! I will raise you up from your graves, my people, and I will bring you to Israel’s fertile land. 13 You will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you up from your graves, my people. 14 I will put my breath[a] in you, and you will live. I will plant you on your fertile land, and you will know that I am the Lord. I’ve spoken, and I will do it. This is what the Lord says.”

Divided kingdom united

15 The Lord’s word came to me: 16 You, human one, take a stick, and write on it, “Belonging to Judah and to the Israelites associated with him.” Take another stick and write on it, “Stick of Ephraim belonging to Joseph and everyone of the house of Israel associated with him.” 17 Join them to each other to make a single stick so that they become one stick in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, “Why won’t you tell us what these sticks mean to you?” 19 say to them, The Lord God proclaims: I’m taking Joseph’s stick, which has been in Ephraim’s hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I’m putting it with Judah’s stick, and I’m making them into a single stick so that they will be one stick in my hand. 20 When the two sticks that you’ve written on are in your hand in their sight, 21 speak to them, This is what the Lord God says: I will take the Israelites from among the nations where they’ve gone, I will gather them from all around, and I will bring them to their fertile land. 22 I will make them into a single nation in the land on Israel’s highlands. There will be just one king for all of them. They will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols or their worthless things or with any of their rebellions. I will deliver them from all the places where they sinned, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David will be king over them. There will be just one shepherd for all of them. They will follow my case laws and carefully observe my regulations. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where their ancestors lived. They will live on it, they and their children and their grandchildren, forever. My servant David will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace for them. It will be their covenant forever. I will grant it to them and allow them to increase. I will set my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling will be with them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 The nations will know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.

Attack of Gog

38 The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, face Gog in the land of Magog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy concerning him and say, The Lord God proclaims: I challenge you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal! I will turn you about, set hooks in your jaws, and lead you out, you and all your army, horses and riders, handsomely dressed, all of them, a great assembly, with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with you,[b] all of them equipped with shield and helmet. Gomer and all his troops, Beth-togarmah from the far north and all his troops; many peoples are with you. Stand ready and be prepared, you and all your assembly. You will watch out for those who gather against you.

After many days you will be called out. In future years you will enter a country that has been freed from the sword, a gathering from many peoples on the mountains of Israel, which had become a perpetual ruin. This country was brought out from the peoples, and all of them live securely. You will invade like a sudden storm. You and all your troops, and the many peoples with you, will be like clouds covering the earth.

10 The Lord God proclaims: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. 11 You will say, “I will go up against the open country and come against a quiet people who all live securely without walls, bars, or doors 12 to take plunder and seize loot, to use my[c] power against the resettled waste places, against a people gathered from the nations, who are acquiring goods and cattle, and who live at the center[d] of the earth.” 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants and officials of Tarshish will say to you, “Have you come to take plunder and seize loot? Have you assembled your army to take silver and gold, to take goods and cattle, to engage in great looting?”

14 So now, prophesy, human one, and say to Gog, The Lord God proclaims: Isn’t that what you will decide to do[e] on that day, when my people Israel live securely? 15 You will come up from your place from the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding horses, a great assembly, a mighty army. 16 You will go up against my people Israel like a cloud covering the earth. But when this happens in future days, I will be the one who brings you up against my land, so that the nations may know me, Gog, when through you I show my holiness in their sight!

17 The Lord God proclaims: Are you the one about whom I spoke in former times through my servants, Israel’s prophets, the ones who prophesied for years in those days to bring you against them? 18 On that day, the day when Gog comes against Israel’s fertile land, my wrath will be aroused. This is what the Lord God says. 19 In my jealousy and blazing anger I declare: On that day, a great quaking will come over Israel’s fertile land. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, all the creatures crawling on the ground, and every living human being will quake in my presence. Mountains will be thrown down and cliffs will crumble; every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains. This is what the Lord God says! The swords of the warriors will be against each other, 22 and I will enter into judgment with him, with plague and blood. I will pour out flooding rain, hailstones, fire, and sulfur on him, on all his troops, and on the many peoples with him. 23 So I will display my greatness, show my holiness, and make myself known in the sight of many nations. And they will know that I am the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 37:14 Or spirit
  2. Ezekiel 38:5 Cf 38:6; MT them
  3. Ezekiel 38:12 LXX; MT your
  4. Ezekiel 38:12 Or navel
  5. Ezekiel 38:14 Or you will know
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James 1:19-2:17

Welcoming and doing the word

19 Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. 20 This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, with humility, set aside all moral filth and the growth of wickedness, and welcome the word planted deep inside you—the very word that is able to save you.

22 You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. 23 Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. 24 They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they were like. 25 But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do.

26 If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless. 27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.

Don’t show favoritism

My brothers and sisters, when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory. Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags. Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, “Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.” But to the poor person you say, “Stand over there”; or, “Here, sit at my feet.” Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?

My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?

You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself.[a] But when you show favoritism, you are committing a sin, and by that same law you are exposed as a lawbreaker. 10 Anyone who tries to keep all of the Law but fails at one point is guilty of failing to keep all of it. 11 The one who said, Don’t commit adultery, also said, Don’t commit murder.[b] So if you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder, you are a lawbreaker. 12 In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. 13 There will be no mercy in judgment for anyone who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy overrules judgment.

Showing faith

14 My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? 15 Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. 16 What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? 17 In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.

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Psalm 117

Psalm 117

117 Praise the Lord, all you nations!
    Worship him, all you peoples!
Because God’s faithful love toward us is strong,
    the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever!
Praise the Lord!

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Proverbs 28:1

28 The wicked run away even though no one pursues them,
    but the righteous are as confident as a lion.

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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