1 November 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s Bible reading begins Ezekiel. Ezekiel provides great detail about his calling as a prophet: his encounter with God and four living creatures or Cherubim with four wheels that stayed beside the creatures. For the next five years he prophesied and acted out the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, which was met with opposition. Ezekiel and his contemporaries like Jeremiah, another prophet who was living in Jerusalem at that time, witnessed the fulfillment of their prophecies when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587-586 b.C. Ezekiel was 50 years old when he began to have visions of a new Temple and he served as a prophet for at least 22 years.
Today’s passage in Hebrews references Psalm 95:7-11; and Psalm 95:7-8.
1 Now in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 Yahweh’s word came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and Yahweh’s hand was there on him. 4 I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of the middle of it as it were glowing metal, out of the middle of the fire. 5 Out of its center came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings. 7 Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass. 8 They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four of them had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings were joined to one another; they didn’t turn when they went; each one went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had the face of a lion on the right side; and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side; the four of them also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies. 12 Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn’t turn when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: the fire went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and lightning went out of the fire. 14 The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15 Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn’t turn when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full of eyes all around. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 22 Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched out over their heads above. 23 Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings. 25 There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings. 26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above. 27 I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of Yahweh’s glory. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
2 He said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you. 2 The Spirit entered into me when he spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard him who spoke to me. 3 He said to me, Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me even to this very day. 4 The children are impudent and stiff-hearted: I am sending you to them; and you shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh. 5 They, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house), yet shall know that there has been a prophet among them. 6 You, son of man, don’t be afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you, and you do dwell among scorpions: don’t be afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You shall speak my words to them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, hear what I tell you; don’t be rebellious like that rebellious house: open your mouth, and eat that which I give you. 9 When I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me; and, behold, a scroll of a book was therein; 10 He spread it before me: and it was written within and without; and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
3 He said to me, Son of man, eat that which you find. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll. 3 He said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give you. Then I ate it; and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. 4 He said to me, Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel; 6 not to many peoples of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words you can not understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you; for they will not listen to me: for all the house of Israel are obstinate and hard-hearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. 9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made your forehead: don’t be afraid of them, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 10 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11 Go to them of the captivity, to the children of your people, and speak to them, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. 12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be Yahweh’s glory from his place. 13 I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, even the noise of a great rushing. 14 So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away; and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; and Yahweh’s hand was strong on me. 15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.
3 Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus; 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house. 3 For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, because he who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. 5 Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, 6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope firm to the end. 7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today if you will hear his voice,
8 don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers tested me by proving me,
and saw my deeds for forty years.
10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation,
and said, ‘They always err in their heart,
but they didn’t know my ways;’
11 as I swore in my wrath,
‘They will not enter into my rest.’”
12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; 13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today”; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: 15 while it is said,
“Today if you will hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn’t all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? 17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn’t enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
104 Bless Yahweh, my soul.
Yahweh, my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty.
2 He covers himself with light as with a garment.
He stretches out the heavens like a curtain.
3 He lays the beams of his rooms in the waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot.
He walks on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes his messengers winds;
his servants flames of fire.
5 He laid the foundations of the earth,
that it should not be moved forever.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a cloak.
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled.
At the voice of your thunder they hurried away.
8 The mountains rose,
the valleys sank down,
to the place which you had assigned to them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over;
that they don’t turn again to cover the earth.
10 He sends springs into the valleys.
They run among the mountains.
11 They give drink to every animal of the field.
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by them.
They sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his rooms.
The earth is filled with the fruit of your works.
14 He causes the grass to grow for the livestock,
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may produce food out of the earth:
15 wine that makes glad the heart of man,
oil to make his face to shine,
and bread that strengthens man’s heart.
16 Yahweh’s trees are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon, which he has planted;
17 where the birds make their nests.
The stork makes its home in the cypress trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats.
The rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19 He appointed the moon for seasons.
The sun knows when to set.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
in which all the animals of the forest prowl.
21 The young lions roar after their prey,
and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away,
and lay down in their dens.
23 Man goes out to his work,
to his labor until the evening.
24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips,
but he harbors evil in his heart.
25 When his speech is charming, don’t believe him;
for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 His malice may be concealed by deception,
but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.