16 November 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading from Ezekiel contains well-known warnings about the duty of the watchman. Ezekiel receives news of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Chaldeans. The hypocrisy and abominations of the people are recounted. When the Lord is destroying these hypocrites, they will know that a prophet has been among them. After all of this, the Lord will recall the scattered sheep and David, here representing the Messiah, will be their shepherd.
Today’s passage in Hebrews references Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 118:6-7; Leviticus 16:27; and Psalm 50:23.
33 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and tell them, When I bring the sword on a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and set him for their watchman; 3 if, when he sees the sword come on the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and doesn’t take warning, if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and didn’t take warning; his blood shall be on him; whereas if he had taken warning, he would have delivered his soul. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword come, and doesn’t blow the trumpet, and the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes, and take any person from among them; he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. 7 So you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 8 When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you don’t speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he doesn’t turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul. 10 You, son of man, tell the house of Israel: Thus you speak, saying, Our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we pine away in them; how then can we live? 11 Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel? 12 You, son of man, tell the children of your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his disobedience; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall he who is righteous be able to live thereby in the day that he sins. 13 When I tell the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his righteousness, and commit iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in his iniquity that he has committed, therein shall he die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that which he had taken by robbery, walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 Yet the children of your people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall even die therein. 19 When the wicked turns from his wickedness, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. 20 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. House of Israel, I will judge every one of you after his ways. 21 In the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, one who had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city has been struck. 22 Now Yahweh’s hand had been on me in the evening, before he who was escaped came; and he had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more mute. 23 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 24 Son of man, they who inhabit those waste places in the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance. 25 Therefore tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: You eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood: and shall you possess the land? 26 You stand on your sword, you work abomination, and every one of you defiles his neighbor’s wife: and shall you possess the land? 27 You shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and him who is in the open field will I give to the animals to be devoured; and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 I will make the land a desolation and an astonishment; and the pride of her power shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, so that no one shall pass through. 29 Then shall they know that I am Yahweh, when I have made the land a desolation and an astonishment, because of all their abominations which they have committed. 30 As for you, son of man, the children of your people talk of you by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak to one another, everyone to his brother, saying, Please come and hear what is the word that comes out from Yahweh. 31 They come to you as the people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but don’t do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their gain. 32 Behold, you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they don’t do them. 33 When this comes to pass, (behold, it comes), then shall they know that a prophet has been among them.
34 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, and you clothe yourself with the wool, you kill the fatlings; but you don’t feed the sheep. 4 You haven’t strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor you have ruled over them. 5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth; and there was no one who searched or sought. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear Yahweh’s word: 8 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely because my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the animals of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and didn’t feed my sheep; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear Yahweh’s word: 10 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. 11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture; and on the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord Yahweh. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. 17 As for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats. 18 Does it seem a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet. 20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh to them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad; 22 therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken it. 25 I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil animals to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell securely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, neither shall the animals of the earth devour them; but they shall dwell securely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up to them a plantation for renown, and they shall be no more consumed with famine in the land, neither bear the shame of the nations any more. 30 They shall know that I, Yahweh, their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord Yahweh. 31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, says the Lord Yahweh.
13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.” 6 So that with good courage we say,
“The Lord is my helper. I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. 13 Let us therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For we don’t have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. 15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. 16 But don’t forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us, for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. 19 I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner.
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, 21 make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 But I exhort you, brothers, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been freed, with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. The Italians greet you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
115 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us,
but to your name give glory,
for your loving kindness, and for your truth’s sake.
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God, now?”
3 But our God is in the heavens.
He does whatever he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they don’t speak.
They have eyes, but they don’t see.
6 They have ears, but they don’t hear.
They have noses, but they don’t smell.
7 They have hands, but they don’t feel.
They have feet, but they don’t walk,
neither do they speak through their throat.
8 Those who make them will be like them;
yes, everyone who trusts in them.
9 Israel, trust in Yahweh!
He is their help and their shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in Yahweh!
He is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh!
He is their help and their shield.
12 Yahweh remembers us. He will bless us.
He will bless the house of Israel.
He will bless the house of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear Yahweh,
both small and great.
14 May Yahweh increase you more and more,
you and your children.
15 Blessed are you by Yahweh,
who made heaven and earth.
16 The heavens are the heavens of Yahweh;
but the earth has he given to the children of men.
17 The dead don’t praise Yah,
neither any who go down into silence;
18 But we will bless Yah,
from this time forward and forever more.
21 The crucible is for silver,
and the furnace for gold;
but man is refined by his praise.
22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain,
yet his foolishness will not be removed from him.