12, September 2020

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Today’s Readings

Ezekiel 31–33 ()

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31:1 In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude:

  “Whom are you like in your greatness?
    Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon,
  with beautiful branches and forest shade,
    and of towering height,
    its top among the clouds.
  The waters nourished it;
    the deep made it grow tall,
  making its rivers flow
    around the place of its planting,
  sending forth its streams
    to all the trees of the field.
  So it towered high
    above all the trees of the field;
  its boughs grew large
    and its branches long
    from abundant water in its shoots.
  All the birds of the heavens
    made their nests in its boughs;
  under its branches all the beasts of the field
    gave birth to their young,
  and under its shadow
    lived all great nations.
  It was beautiful in its greatness,
    in the length of its branches;
  for its roots went down
    to abundant waters.
  The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it,
    nor the fir trees equal its boughs;
  neither were the plane trees
    like its branches;
  no tree in the garden of God
    was its equal in beauty.
  I made it beautiful
    in the mass of its branches,
  and all the trees of Eden envied it,
    that were in the garden of God.

10 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, 11 I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. 12 Foreigners, the most ruthless of nations, have cut it down and left it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs have been broken in all the ravines of the land, and all the peoples of the earth have gone away from its shadow and left it. 13 On its fallen trunk dwell all the birds of the heavens, and on its branches are all the beasts of the field. 14 All this is in order that no trees by the waters may grow to towering height or set their tops among the clouds, and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height. For they are all given over to death, to the world below, among the children of man, with those who go down to the pit.

15 “Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day the cedar went down to Sheol I caused mourning; I closed the deep over it, and restrained its rivers, and many waters were stopped. I clothed Lebanon in gloom for it, and all the trees of the field fainted because of it. 16 I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit. And all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the world below. 17 They also went down to Sheol with it, to those who are slain by the sword; yes, those who were its arm, who lived under its shadow among the nations.

18 “Whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? You shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the world below. You shall lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword.

“This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord GOD.”

32:1 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him:

  “You consider yourself a lion of the nations,
    but you are like a dragon in the seas;
  you burst forth in your rivers,
    trouble the waters with your feet,
    and foul their rivers.
  Thus says the Lord GOD:
    I will throw my net over you
    with a host of many peoples,
    and they will haul you up in my dragnet.
  And I will cast you on the ground;
    on the open field I will fling you,
  and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you,
    and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you.
  I will strew your flesh upon the mountains
    and fill the valleys with your carcass.
  I will drench the land even to the mountains
    with your flowing blood,
    and the ravines will be full of you.
  When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens
    and make their stars dark;
  I will cover the sun with a cloud,
    and the moon shall not give its light.
  All the bright lights of heaven
    will I make dark over you,
    and put darkness on your land,
      declares the Lord GOD.

“I will trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries that you have not known. 10 I will make many peoples appalled at you, and the hair of their kings shall bristle with horror because of you, when I brandish my sword before them. They shall tremble every moment, every one for his own life, on the day of your downfall.

11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. 12 I will cause your multitude to fall by the swords of mighty ones, all of them most ruthless of nations.

  “They shall bring to ruin the pride of Egypt,
    and all its multitude shall perish.
13   I will destroy all its beasts
    from beside many waters;
  and no foot of man shall trouble them anymore,
    nor shall the hoofs of beasts trouble them.
14   Then I will make their waters clear,
    and cause their rivers to run like oil,
      declares the Lord GOD.
15   When I make the land of Egypt desolate,
    and when the land is desolate of all that fills it,
  when I strike down all who dwell in it,
    then they will know that I am the LORD.

16 This is a lamentation that shall be chanted; the daughters of the nations shall chant it; over Egypt, and over all her multitude, shall they chant it, declares the Lord GOD.”

17 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 18 “Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and send them down, her and the daughters of majestic nations, to the world below, to those who have gone down to the pit:

19   ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty?
    Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised.’

20 They shall fall amid those who are slain by the sword. Egypt is delivered to the sword; drag her away, and all her multitudes. 21 The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

22 “Assyria is there, and all her company, its graves all around it, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, 23 whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit; and her company is all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living.

24 “Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. 25 They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are placed among the slain.

26 “Meshech-Tubal is there, and all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they spread their terror in the land of the living. 27 And they do not lie with the mighty, the fallen from among the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the mighty men was in the land of the living. 28 But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword.

29 “Edom is there, her kings and all her princes, who for all their might are laid with those who are killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to the pit.

30 “The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.

31 “When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord GOD. 32 For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord GOD.”

33:1 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. 13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. 14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. 19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been struck down.” 22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; and he had opened my mouth by the time the man came to me in the morning, so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.

23 The word of the LORD came to me: 24 “Son of man, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.’ 25 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: You eat flesh with the blood and lift up your eyes to your idols and shed blood; shall you then possess the land? 26 You rely on the sword, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife; shall you then possess the land? 27 Say this to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence. 28 And I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and her proud might shall come to an end, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that none will pass through. 29 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed.

30 “As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ 31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. 32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. 33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Luke 21:25–38 ()

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25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

Psalm 78:40–55 ()

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40   How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved him in the desert!
41   They tested God again and again
    and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42   They did not remember his power
    or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
43   when he performed his signs in Egypt
    and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
44   He turned their rivers to blood,
    so that they could not drink of their streams.
45   He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
    and frogs, which destroyed them.
46   He gave their crops to the destroying locust
    and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47   He destroyed their vines with hail
    and their sycamores with frost.
48   He gave over their cattle to the hail
    and their flocks to thunderbolts.
49   He let loose on them his burning anger,
    wrath, indignation, and distress,
    a company of destroying angels.
50   He made a path for his anger;
    he did not spare them from death,
    but gave their lives over to the plague.
51   He struck down every firstborn in Egypt,
    the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52   Then he led out his people like sheep
    and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53   He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,
    but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54   And he brought them to his holy land,
    to the mountain which his right hand had won.
55   He drove out nations before them;
    he apportioned them for a possession
    and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Proverbs 20:22–24 ()

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22   Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
    wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
23   Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD,
    and false scales are not good.
24   A man’s steps are from the LORD;
    how then can man understand his way?

12, September 2020

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