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18 November 2017 Bible Reading

In today’s reading, Ezekiel is set in the midst of a valley full of dry bones. Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the dry bones, saying ‘Hear the word of the Lord.’ As Ezekiel prophesies, the bones are joined together, and covered with flesh. In the same way, Israel shall be brought up from its grave. Ezekiel is commanded to write ‘Judah’ on one stick, and ‘Ephraim’ on another stick, which will become joined into one stick in his hand. At the restoration, there shall be no more idolatry, David shall reign, and God shall be in his sanctuary. The Lord will intervene and execute furious judgment against Gog (a Scythian prince) when he seems about to defeat Israel. All creation will shake at the presence of the Lord. The Lord will be known in the eyes of many nations.

Today’s passage in James references Leviticus 19:18; Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Exodus 10:13; and Deuteronomy 5:17.

Ezekiel 37-38
37 Yahweh’s hand was on me, and he brought me out in Yahweh’s Spirit, and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass by them all around: and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and behold, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? I answered, Lord Yahweh, you know. 4 Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, you dry bones, hear Yahweh’s word. 5 Thus says the Lord Yahweh to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I saw, and, behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 You shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken it and performed it, says Yahweh. 15 Yahweh’s word came again to me, saying, 16 You, son of man, take one stick, and write on it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 and join them for you to one another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18 When the children of your people shall speak to you, saying, Will you not show us what you mean by these? 19 tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand. 20 The sticks whereon you write shall be in your hand before their eyes. 21 Say to them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, where they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; 23 neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers lived; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forever more. 27 My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 The nations shall know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary shall be among them forever more.
38 Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against you, Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal: 4 and I will turn you around, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords; 5 Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his hordes; even many peoples with you. 7 Be prepared, yes, prepare yourself, you, and all your companies who are assembled to you, and be a guard to them. 8 After many days you shall be visited: in the latter years you shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, on the mountains of Israel, which have been a continual waste; but it is brought out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them. 9 You shall ascend, you shall come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you, and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. 10 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: It shall happen in that day, that things shall come into your mind, and you shall devise an evil device: 11 and you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to those who are at rest, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; 12 to take the plunder and to take the prey; to turn your hand against the waste places that are inhabited, and against the people who are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten livestock and goods, who dwell in the middle of the earth. 13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions of it, shall tell you, Have you come to take the plunder? have you assembled your company to take the prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder? 14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and tell Gog, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In that day when my people Israel dwells securely, shall you not know it? 15 You shall come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you, and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army; 16 and you shall come up against my people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land: it shall happen in the latter days, that I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you, Gog, before their eyes. 17 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Are you he of whom I spoke in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for years that I would bring you against them? 18 It shall happen in that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord Yahweh, that my wrath shall come up into my nostrils. 19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 so that the fish of the sea, and the birds of the sky, and the animals of the field, and all creeping things who creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the surface of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. 21 I will call for a sword against him to all my mountains, says the Lord Yahweh: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and with blood will I enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him, and on his hordes, and on the many peoples who are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and sulfur. 23 I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am Yahweh.

James 1:19-2:17
19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn’t bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
2 My brothers, don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; and you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? 7 Don’t they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? 8 However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”you do well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. 13 For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? 15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled”; and yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.

Psalm 117
117 Praise Yahweh, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
2 For his loving kindness is great toward us.
Yahweh’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise Yah!

Proverbs 28:1
28 The wicked flee when no one pursues;
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

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