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Old Testament:  Ezekiel 22-23

Ezekiel 22

The Sins of Jerusalem
 1  Now this message came to me from the LORD:  2  "Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins,  3  and give her this message from the Sovereign LORD: O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, [3]  filthy and foul—  4  you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world.  5  O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near.
   6  "Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder.  7  Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you.  8  You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest.  9  People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things.  10  Men sleep with their fathers' wives and have intercourse with women who are menstruating.  11  Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors' wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters.  12  There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign LORD.
   13  "But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed.  14  How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I said.  15  I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness.  16  And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, [16]  you will know that I am the LORD."

The LORD's Refining Furnace
 17  Then this message came to me from the LORD:  18  "Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead.  19  So tell them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem.  20  Just as copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury.  21  I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you,  22  and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you.'"

The Sins of Israel's Leaders
 23  Again a message came to me from the LORD:  24  "Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain.  25  Your princes [25]  plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land.  26  Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them.  27  Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people's lives for money!  28  And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, `My message is from the Sovereign LORD,' when the LORD hasn't spoken a single word to them.  29  Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
   30  "I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one."  31  So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"

Ezekiel 23

The Adultery of Two Sisters
 1  This message came to me from the LORD:  2  "Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother.  3  They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts.  4  The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
   5  "Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers.  6  They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses.  7  And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols [7]  and defiling herself.  8  For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute.
   9  "And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much.  10  They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land.
   11  "Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution.  12  She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men.  13  I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister.
   14  "Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian [14]  military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms.  15  Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. [15]   16  When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her.  17  So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust.
   18  "In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts.  19  Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt.  20  She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey's and emissions like those of a horse.  21  And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled.

The LORD's Judgment of Oholibah
 22  "Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust.  23  For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses.  24  They will all come against you from the north [24]  with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please.  25  I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned.  26  They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels.  27  In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt.
   28  "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected.  29  They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world.  30  You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols.  31  Because you have followed in your sister's footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank.
   32  "Yes, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

"You will drink from your sister's cup of terror,
  a cup that is large and deep.
It is filled to the brim
  with scorn and derision.
 33  Drunkenness and anguish will fill you,
  for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation,
  the same cup your sister Samaria drank.
 34  You will drain that cup of terror
  to the very bottom.
Then you will smash it to pieces
  and beat your breast in anguish.
  I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!

   35  "And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution."

The LORD's Judgment on Both Sisters
 36  The LORD said to me, "Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins.  37  They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me.  38  Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day!  39  On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house.
   40  "You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them.  41  You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you.  42  From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards [42]  from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads.  43  Then I said, `If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!'  44  And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes.  45  But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers.
   46  "Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered.  47  For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes.  48  In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to others not to follow their wicked example.  49  You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."
<<  22:3 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung; also in 22:4.
<<  22:16 Or when you have been dishonored among the nations.
<<  22:25 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads prophets.
<<  23:7 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung; also in 23:30, 37, 39, 49.
<<  23:14 Or Chaldean.
<<  23:15 Or Chaldea; also in 23:16.
<<  23:24 As in Greek version; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
<<  23:42 Or Sabeans.

New Testament:  1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1

Greetings from Peter
 1  This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
  I am writing to God's chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. [1]   2  God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
  May God give you more and more grace and peace.

The Hope of Eternal Life
 3  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, ...  4  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.  5  And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
   6  "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  7  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold; though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.    8  You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  9  The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
   10  This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you.  11  They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ's suffering and his great glory afterward.
   12  They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

A Call to Holy Living
 13  So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.  14  So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then.  15  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  16  For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy." [16] 
   17  And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land."  18  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.  19  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.  20  God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
   21  Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
   22  You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. [22]  Love each other deeply with all your heart. [22] 
   23  For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.  24  As the Scriptures say,

"People are like grass;
  their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
 25    But the word of the Lord remains forever." [25] 

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
<<  1:1 Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia were Roman provinces in what is now Turkey.
<<  1:6 Or So you are truly glad.
<<  1:16 Lev 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7.
<<  1:22a Greek must have brotherly love. 1:22b Some manuscripts read with a pure heart.
<<  1:24-25 Isa 40:6-8.

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