Daily reading for Friday, November 15, 2013
Today's audio is from the CEB. Switch to the CEB to read along with the audio.
Ezekiel 31:1-32:32; Hebrews 12:14-29; Psalms 113:1-114:8; Proverbs 27:18-20 (New Living Translation)
Egypt Compared to Fallen Assyria
31 On June 21,[a] during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his hordes:
“To whom would you compare your greatness?
3 You are like mighty Assyria,
which was once like a cedar of Lebanon,
with beautiful branches that cast deep forest shade
and with its top high among the clouds.
4 Deep springs watered it
and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant.
The water flowed around it like a river,
streaming to all the trees nearby.
5 This great tree towered high,
higher than all the other trees around it.
It prospered and grew long thick branches
because of all the water at its roots.
6 The birds nested in its branches,
and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth.
All the great nations of the world
lived in its shadow.
7 It was strong and beautiful,
with wide-spreading branches,
for its roots went deep
into abundant water.
8 No other cedar in the garden of God
could rival it.
No cypress had branches to equal it;
no plane tree had boughs to compare.
No tree in the garden of God
came close to it in beauty.
9 Because I made this tree so beautiful,
and gave it such magnificent foliage,
it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden,
the garden of God.
10 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt[b] became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, 11 I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. 12 A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there.
13 “The birds roost on its fallen trunk,
and the wild animals lie among its branches.
14 Let the tree of no other nation
proudly exult in its own prosperity,
though it be higher than the clouds
and it be watered from the depths.
For all are doomed to die,
to go down to the depths of the earth.
They will land in the pit
along with everyone else on earth.
15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Assyria went down to the grave,[c] I made the deep springs mourn. I stopped its rivers and dried up its abundant water. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. 16 I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others who descend to the pit. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, took comfort to find it there with them in the depths of the earth. 17 Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave—all those nations that had lived in its shade.
18 “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts[d] who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
A Warning for Pharaoh
32 On March 3,[e] during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message:
“You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations,
but you are really just a sea monster,
heaving around in your own rivers,
stirring up mud with your feet.
3 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
I will send many people
to catch you in my net
and haul you out of the water.
4 I will leave you stranded on the land to die.
All the birds of the heavens will land on you,
and the wild animals of the whole earth
will gorge themselves on you.
5 I will scatter your flesh on the hills
and fill the valleys with your bones.
6 I will drench the earth with your gushing blood
all the way to the mountains,
filling the ravines to the brim.
7 When I blot you out,
I will veil the heavens and darken the stars.
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
and the moon will not give you its light.
8 I will darken the bright stars overhead
and cover your land in darkness.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!
9 “I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. 10 Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. 11 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“The sword of the king of Babylon
will come against you.
12 I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors—
the terror of the nations.
They will shatter the pride of Egypt,
and all its hordes will be destroyed.
13 I will destroy all your flocks and herds
that graze beside the streams.
Never again will people or animals
muddy those waters with their feet.
14 Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again,
and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil,
says the Sovereign Lord.
15 And when I destroy Egypt
and strip you of everything you own
and strike down all your people,
then you will know that I am the Lord.
16 Yes, this is the funeral song
they will sing for Egypt.
Let all the nations mourn.
Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
Egypt Falls into the Pit
17 On March 17,[f] during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord: 18 “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations.[g] For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. 19 Say to them,
‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations?
No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts.[h]’
20 The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. 21 Down in the grave[i] mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’
22 “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. 23 Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword.
24 “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. 25 They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword.
26 “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. 27 They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave[j] with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies[k] and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive.
28 “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword.
29 “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit.
30 “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit.
31 “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord. 32 Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
- 31:1 Hebrew On the first day of the third month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on June 21, 587 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
- 31:10 Hebrew you.
- 31:15 Hebrew to Sheol; also in 31:16, 17.
- 31:18 Hebrew among the uncircumcised.
- 32:1 Hebrew On the first day of the twelfth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on March 3, 585 b.c.; also see note on 1:1.
- 32:17 Hebrew On the fifteenth day of the month, presumably in the twelfth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (see 32:1). This would put this message at the end of King Jehoiachin’s twelfth year of captivity, on March 17, 585 b.c.; also see note on 1:1. Greek version reads On the fifteenth day of the first month, which would put this message on April 27, 586 b.c., at the beginning of Jehoiachin’s twelfth year.
- 32:18 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 32:19 Hebrew the uncircumcised; also in 32:21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32.
- 32:21 Hebrew in Sheol.
- 32:27a Hebrew to Sheol.
- 32:27b The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
A Call to Listen to God
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
18 You have not come to a physical mountain,[a] to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[b] 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”[c]
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.”[d] 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
1 Praise the Lord!
Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
now and forever.
3 Everywhere—from east to west—
praise the name of the Lord.
4 For the Lord is high above the nations;
his glory is higher than the heavens.
5 Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
who is enthroned on high?
6 He stoops to look down
on heaven and on earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
8 He sets them among princes,
even the princes of his own people!
9 He gives the childless woman a family,
making her a happy mother.
Praise the Lord!
1 When the Israelites escaped from Egypt—
when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—
2 the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary,
and Israel became his kingdom.
3 The Red Sea[a] saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
The water of the Jordan River turned away.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs!
5 What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
6 Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
Why, hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob.
8 He turned the rock into a pool of water;
yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.
- 114:3 Hebrew the sea; also in 114:5.
18 As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit,
so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.
19 As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.
20 Just as Death and Destruction[a] are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied.
- 27:20 Hebrew Sheol and Abaddon.